Scrimmage launches spring rowing

The novice junior women’s eight won their race by a boat a length on Saturday.  - Teresa Lewis Photo
The novice junior women’s eight won their race by a boat a length on Saturday.
— image credit: Teresa Lewis Photo

The Jensen Point boathouse buzzed with activity early Saturday as coach Richard Parr mixed masters and junior rowers into the same shells to make this year’s masters and juniors scrimmage a competitive one.

In all, more than 70 rowers and coxswains took part in the event — all in pursuit of the Guinea Gig Cup.

The women’s eight race, which pitted a mixed boat of veteran junior and masters women against a promising crew of junior novices was one of the highlights of the day with the novices (Adriana Yarkin, Tabitha Illerbrunn, Lili Helsby, Madelyn McEachern, Virginia Miller, Katrina Heffernan, Rhea Enzian and Riley Lynch with coxswain Ally Clevenger) pulling out a win by a boat length.

The final race of the day was for the cup, and this year’s format featured mixed eights (four men/four women rowing in each shell). The junior eight with all senior rowers pulled off a three boat-length win over the masters, ensuring that the Guinea Pig Cup will reside with the juniors for another season. Normally, the coxswain of a boat is the smallest person in the crew but the junior crew chose world champion rower Mia Croonquist as their cox. With a 10-knot tailwind Croonquist’s 6-foot frame  acted as a sail and wasn’t the handicap that one might expect. Junior women rowers in the winning boat were captain Taegan Lynch, Bryn Gilbert, Myah Krah and TeraJane Ripley. The junior men were captain Baxter Call, Tate Gill, Jacob Plihal and Alexander Wright.

After the races and awards ceremony, the Vashon Island Rowing Club held a new boat christening ceremony. After a short reading beseeching that the boats encounter “light breezes and calm waters,” a few cups of Quartermaster harbor water were poured over the bow of each of four new boats, whose names were revealed on Saturday morning: Vashon Island Coffee Roasterie; the Windermere Vashon; the Geraldine, named by Leslie Mackie of Macrina Bakery in honor of her grandmother; and the Parr-Fection, named by the Call family in honor of coach Richard Parr. The purchase of the boats was made possible by the contributions of those mentioned above as well as donations from numerous rowing parents and community members.

— Pat Call is a recreational rower and parent of two junior rowers.

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