Just hours after turning back their clocks at home, members of the Vashon Island Rowing Club’s mixed masters’ eight did the same in a competitive field at the Head of the Lake regatta Sunday, replicating their gold-medal row from 2015 with an impressive 18-second win over Bainbridge Island.
“Eight of the nine of us were in the boat in 2015,” said crew member Colby Atwood, “so it was fun to get the band back together for this gig. We only had a few practices with this lineup because of the recent wind and fog, but we came together nicely and got good run with every stroke.”
Coxswain Lisa Huggenvik pushed Vashon’s lineup of Kim Goforth, Atwood, Bruce Morser, Bob Horsley, John Jannetty, Lea Heffernan, Su DeWalt and Mary Rothermel past multiple boats along the way to the win on the 4,800-meter fish hook-shaped course that starts in Lake Union and ends at the UW boathouse on Lake Washington.
“Even with youngster Lea Heffernan in the boat, we were still the oldest boat out of six,” said long-time VIRC Masters rower John Jannetty. “Thanks go to our coaches Ben Steele and Maya Krah for tweaking our seating to help us row as one.”
The day started out strong for Vashon’s Masters with Chad Magnuson capturing the Gordon McWilliams Cup in his single. Magnuson eked out a narrow, two-second victory in a race that included some adventure toward the end.
“I was rowing to the inside of two buoys in the last turn,” said Magnuson. “I almost had to stop twice and lost over 20 seconds to make it back outside, so it was a good row, but it could have been better.”
Also, VIRC’s men’s junior coxed quad came home from its successful race at Head of the Charles in Boston last weekend to take a third place on Sunday at Head of the Lake. While that race garners most of the annual weekend’s rowing headlines, Vashon Island Rowing Club saw something special happen a day earlier at the annual Frostbite Regatta on Seattle’s Green Lake. Besides a silver medal performance in the composite novice women’s eight, the highlight of the day was a gold medal row by Vashon’s novice women’s four.
After rowing with a composite lineup that included Vashon novice rowers Tori Hu, Eva Cain, Amanda Kyles, coxswain Sophia Krikawa and Nicole Winters of the Renton Rowing Club, the girls were reminded upon receiving their gold medals that a very similar lineup had finished last in the same event at the same venue just a few months earlier.
“Our girls had an amazing time rowing their composite boats and building friendships amongst each other,” said novice juniors’ coach Taegan Lynch. “Ending the year like this made for a happy and heartwarming cap to the fall season.”
“Our team is lucky to have Taegan,” said eighth-grader Kyles. “She’s an awesome coach and role model. Having female coaches is inspiring and the idea that Taegan and Maya were once VIRC rowers is so cool.”
— Jeff Hoyt, VIRC masters rower