Sports

Crew sends record number to Nationals

The Vashon Junior Crew ranks third in the country with its 10 boats that have qualified for Nationals. Team members going to Nationals are, back row: Patrick Hanson, Baxter Call, Jacob Plihal, Tate Gill, Fletcher Call, Jack Mask and Forrest Miller; front row: Madelyn McEachern, Riley Lynch, Kalie Heffernan, Kirsten Girard, Emily Milbrath, Hannah Russell, Mia Croonquist, Taegan Lynch, Bryn Gilbert, and Virginia Miller; lying in front: coxswain Callie Andrews. - Christine Plihal Photo
The Vashon Junior Crew ranks third in the country with its 10 boats that have qualified for Nationals. Team members going to Nationals are, back row: Patrick Hanson, Baxter Call, Jacob Plihal, Tate Gill, Fletcher Call, Jack Mask and Forrest Miller; front row: Madelyn McEachern, Riley Lynch, Kalie Heffernan, Kirsten Girard, Emily Milbrath, Hannah Russell, Mia Croonquist, Taegan Lynch, Bryn Gilbert, and Virginia Miller; lying in front: coxswain Callie Andrews.
— image credit: Christine Plihal Photo

By PAT CALL

Coach Richard Parr has been tuning the Vashon junior crew for a peak performance at the Northwest Regional Championships for the entire spring season, and last weekend the team did not disappoint. Junior crew sent a record 10 boats and 18 rowers on to the National Championships to be held at Lake Natoma in Sacramento next month.

A hot and humid day greeted the crew at Lake Vancouver outside Vancouver, Washington, on Thursday, when over 1,300 rowers from 26 clubs arrived to unload boats and gear from their trailers and assemble them for the “combat” over the next three days. Weather conditions on Friday and Saturday were ideal, with very light breezes leading to some extraordinary times turned in by area crews.

On Friday morning, Vashon’s varsity crew advanced eight boats to Saturday finals in seven events. Then the team powered through by placing in the top three in all seven events on Saturday, with three second-place and four third-place finishes. On Saturday the Vashon juniors qualified four more boats for Sunday finals, and then under rapidly deteriorating conditions placed in three of those four races.

Boats going to Nationals are the men’s and women’s quads, men’s and women’s doubles, men’s and women’s singles, men’s lightweight double, women’s lightweight double, women’s lightweight four and women’s pair.

In junior varsity and novice races that don’t qualify for Nationals, Vashon rowers entered 14 races, placing in eight of them and winning four. Winning boats were the women’s novice double (Katrina Heffernan and Rhea Enzian), the men’s JV double (Patrick Hanson and Tate Gill), the women’s novice quad (Riley Lynch, Enzian, Heffernan, Adriana Yarkin and, coxswain Cody Clevenger) and the men’s JV quad, where in their last race for Vashon, seniors Alexander Wright and Ethan Rumburg stroked their boat to a win into an almost unrowable gale (joined by teammates Lorenzo Higuera and Liam McConnell).

The men’s high school eight took first place in its late Sunday race (and second overall in the event). earning the right to throw  Parr into Lake Vancouver (Vashon success in an eight race is a rarity). The women’s high school eight dressed in pirate garb and shouting “argh” as they proceeded down the course failed to defend last year’s title but still placed a very respectable third.

The junior Crew will raise funds to assist in sending the rowers to nationals with another car wash and bake sale scheduled for Saturday, June 7.

— Pat Call is the father of two junior rowers.

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