Rowers look ahead to spring

Will Kicinski rowed a single in the Head of the Gorge regatta Oct. 25. - Sue DeWalt photo
Will Kicinski rowed a single in the Head of the Gorge regatta Oct. 25.
— image credit: Sue DeWalt photo


For The Beachcomber

In recent years, the small Vashon Island Junior Crew has really made a name for itself.

Most area clubs, like Lake Sammamish, Green Lake, Everett and others, have hundreds of participants and draw from several high schools. It is hard for Vashon to compete.

Nevertheless, the program has produced NW Regional champions, a men’s quad team that went to nationals and alumni Tom Kicinski and Hannah Jackson, who were awarded scholarships to row at the University of Washington and Notre Dame, respectively.

Three more Island seniors (Clint Amstrup, Charlie Hoffman and Michael Stoffer) are being courted heavily by the University of Washington freshman crew coach as well. All of this from a program usually consisting of 25 to 30 kids!

This year, Vashon Island Junior Crew’s first fall regatta was the “Tail of the Lake” at Lake Union. The team had a strong showing with a men’s double (Amstrup and Hoffman), women’s quad (Avalon Koenig, Allison Saathoff, Meghan Conners, Lizzy Corliss and cox Olivia Sayvetz), and a men’s novice quad (Nathan Osgood, Wes Paulsen, Nolan Shinn, Alec Spencer and cox Sarah Warner) all taking first places.

In largely open regattas in Canada Oct. 25 and 26 (Head of the Gorge and Head of the Elk), the young team competed with Canadian university teams. The women’s quad (Koenig, Saathoff, Laine Williams, Marisca Martin and cox Warner) took fifth in a crowded field, and the men’s eight (Amstrup, Hoffman, Cody Turner, Will Kicinski, Steven Dewalt, Ky Burton, Thane Gill, Tim Hanson and cox Sayvetz) took first in its division.

Vashon Island Junior Crew is a “club sport,” but for all purposes it is one of the high school sports. Sponsored by Vashon Park District, the team works in conjunction with the invaluable masters rowing program on the Island.

In his fourth year as head coach, Lucas Ridinger, a former Canadian junior rowing champion and a native of Vashon, is excited about the future of the program.

Registration for spring season begins in December through the Vashon Park District. The spring crew season starts in late February. Teams compete in the NW Regionals at Vancouver Lake in late May, and the varsity winners go to the U.S. National Competition. Vashon Island Junior Crew has high hopes for a very strong showing.

— Andy Amstrup is the father of rower Clint Amstrup.

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