Rowers journey to Oregon with stiff competition for successful regatta

The junior women
The junior women's varsity quad row to a first-place win in the weekend's regatta.
— image credit: Christine Plihal Photo


The Oregon Association of Rowers hosted its 20th Annual Covered Bridge Regatta, whose starting line is a few yards west of the stately, century-old Lowell covered bridge from which the regatta derives its name.

Five hundred junior, collegiate and master rowers from 36 clubs competed in 44 events over the past weekend. This was the Vashon junior crew’s first major test of the spring season, with major competitors from the Pacific Northwest and California turning out in force. In particular, the Stanford Rowing Center’s select program makes this regatta an important calibration and put Vashon’s rowers to the test.

Overall the junior crew passed with flying colors, exceeding last year’s medal count by about 2 p.m. on Saturday and concluding the regatta with 23 medals in 26 races. The junior women had particular success, winning 11 out of 14 races, taking gold in varsity, junior varsity and novice races and coming in second in the other three races.   First place medals included four varsity events: the A quad (Mia Croonquist, stroke, Riley Lynch, Kalie Heffernan and Kirsten Girard, bow), the B quad (Rhea Enzian, stroke, Virginia Miller, Caprial Turner and Mei Lee Vandervelde, bow), the four (Bryn Gilbert, stroke, Taegan Lynch, Shannon Lipe, Te’a Schafer and Ally Clevenger, coxswain) and double (Croonquist, stroke and Girard, bow); four junior varsity races: three doubles and a coxed four; and the novice junior women had another strong showing, winning three races:  the eight, the four and the coxed quad.

The junior men’s team won only one gold — the JV double (Patrick Hanson, stroke and Forrest Miller, bow); however, their five silver medals provide great motivation for spring break training camp this week.

A select few of the Vashon master crew also traveled to Lowell for the weekend, bringing home a combined total of four medals, including three silver.

In summing up the regatta, coach Richard Parr congratulated the team on its second-place finish in team points (an improvement over last year’s eighth-place finish).

“The Covered Bridge regatta is an excellent calibration for our teams. We learned we are competitive, but especially with our junior men, we need to find some significant speed improvements,” he said. “Both our fitness and our technique will improve this next week so that we will show up at the Brentwood regatta in two weeks a stronger crew.”

— Pat Call is the father of two junior rowers.

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