For junior rowers, spring season begins with strong scrimmage

From left: Vashon Island Rowing Club’s Aria Mildon, Gabbie Graves, Jamie Glatzmayer and Ava Lorentzen at last Sunday’s Saltwater Scrimmage. (Jordan Petram Photo)

The Vashon Island Rowing Club’s junior crew kicked off its 2017 spring racing season with a strong showing at the annual Salt Water Scrimmage on its home waters of Quartermaster Harbor last Sunday.

With conditions a little less cold, dryer than usual and with only a slight headwind, a good crowd and the occasional seal saw the juniors race in 17 of 23 events against crews from the Bainbridge Island Rowing Club and Olympia Area Rowing. Seventeen boats placed in the top three of their respective races, leading to 10 wins, six second- and one third-place finish at the end of the day.

The Salt Water Scrimmage is a long-standing tradition for the three clubs, bonded by the fact that they are the Pacific Northwest region’s main clubs that row on salt, not fresh, water. The venue rotates among the three, with last year’s host, Bainbridge, passing the torch to Vashon for this year’s event.

Vashon’s coach, Richard Parr, was pleased with the juniors’ efforts, both on and off the water.

“Overall our boats really challenged in the middle stretches, which was great,” he said. “Historically, Vashon has been very fast out of the start, but sometimes lagged in the middle. So it was good to see that the crew as a whole has grown past that.”

And despite the fact that he had to be on the water marshalling races the entire day, Parr knew he was leaving the team’s on-shore management in the good hands of his assistant coach Tom Kicinski and junior team captains David Nguyen and Riley Lynch.

“I was so pleased with how all of our athletes showed a great deal of maturity throughout the event, particularly our captains David and Riley, who were really helpful to Tom to keep things running smoothly on shore,” he added.

Vashon’s wins came in the women’s lightweight single (Mable Moses), the varsity women’s pair (Rhea Enzian and Riley Lynch), the varsity men’s quad (Beckett Reid/stroke, Seth Rosen, Connor Van Egmund and Rohin Petram), the varsity women’s eight — coxed by Lucca Shattuck, who Parr noted did a “great job steering the boat to what might be the fastest time we’ve seen on Quartermaster,” the lightweight women’s four (Maya Gould/stroke, Moses, Sam Zeigler, Emma Greenlee and coxed by middle-schooler Hayden Rosen), the lightweight women’s double (Olivia White and Tiffany Huestis), the novice women’s quad (Aria Mildon/stroke, Gabbie Graves, Jamie Glatzmayer and Ava Lorentzen), the novice women’s double (Lorentzen and Graves), the lightweight men’s double (Nguyen and Cooper Py) and the varsity women’s four (Enzian, Lynch, Selena Mildon, Kate Kelly and also coxed by Rosen).

The most exciting race of the day, according to Parr, belonged to the women’s quad of Katrina Heffernan, Caprial Turner, Aria Mildon and Emily Milbrath, who slugged it out to a too-close-to-call finish against a strong Olympia crew. Other standouts included Rachel Kirk and Glatzmayer, who Parr said “raced really well” after having joined the crew just two weeks prior.

Overall Parr said he was impressed with the dedication of the entire team, who have been training and racing through one of the coldest and wettest winters in recent memory, and he’s excited for “some good racing” as the season progresses.

“It’s always great to watch the new rowers grow and develop and to see the vets mature into mentors, as well as coming into their own as both athletes and young adults,” he said.

Next up for the club is the Green Lake spring regatta for both the juniors and masters this Saturday, and a Vashon-hosted junior scrimmage the following weekend with Burnaby Lake (Canada) and Lakeside School (Seattle).