The Burton Beach Rowing Club made its second trip to Vancouver Lake in as many weeks this past weekend, but this time it was to take on crews from the entire Northwest at USRowing’s NW Youth Regional Championships. BBRC had a great weekend, with 15 athletes from the small club coming home with medals.
The team’s only senior, veteran rower Mabel Moses, started the weekend for BBRC by clinching her trip to Youth Nationals in Florida with a bronze medal performance in the women’s open single. Moses won the lightweight single event last year by a considerable margin, and decided to see if she could challenge the bigger girls this time around, with the answer being a resounding “yes”.
Next up was the women’s pair of Gabbie Graves and Kate Kelly, who found themselves in a dogfight with five other boats in the final. Coach Richard Parr said that this was by far the toughest field for the women’s pair event that he’s seen at NW Regionals.
“Five years ago, this event was considered the ‘soft option’,” he explained. “But I’d say that it may have become one of the toughest races out of the whole regatta, as people are learning that small boats are a great place to showcase talent.”
Graves and Kelly attained the silver, finishing second to a superb crew from Sammamish. The top three finish earned Kelly and Graves a trip with Moses to Nationals in Florida in two weeks’ time.
In the novice women’s double, Jewel Wass de Czege and Bronwyn White had a fantastic race, dominating the field of 36 entries to win by a margin of 16 seconds over second-place Seattle Prep.
“I was so excited how we were able to pull out this win, not just for us, but for our whole team,” Wass de Czege said after the race. “And while Richard doesn’t make a point about medals or trophies, we know he was happy for us to receive the plaque you get for winning here.”
White also raced the varsity lightweight single event, and picked up her second medal, a bronze, with a strong row against more experienced competition.
At the end of the weekend, all of BBRC’s novices had earned medals. A quad of Vera Moses, Keziah Rutschow, Dexy Richmond and Olivia Sherman (coxed by Mabel Moses) attained a remarkable silver in the youth event. This BBRC crew was by far the smallest in stature at the whole regatta, but they raced with skill and tenacity, besting much bigger girls and all of their competition but a crew from Rogue Rowing (Ashland, Oregon). Novice boys Simon Grant and Braden Edwards also got in on the hardware haul, earning a silver in their novice men’s double timed final.
Other medals were won by the JV men’s and women’s doubles (Davis Kelly/Jordon Rutschow and Ava Lorentzen/Ros Belscheidt). Both boats stretched out comfortable leads to secure gold in their timed finals.
BBRC Board President Lisa Lorentzen was incredibly proud of her small club.
“In our short 16 months of existence, we have become a force in the regional scene,” she said. “We’ve been on podiums in New Zealand, China and Canada, and won medals throughout the team. But more importantly, every day seems to bring a ton of laughter, the kids are learning great lessons and I can tell how close they’ve become.”
— Written by Sarah Low, Beachcomber Reporter, with input from Richard Parr, BBRC coach and Low’s husband.