BBRC Rowers deliver at Covered Bridge regatta in Eugene

This was the first real test over 2000 meters for the club in 2024.

Over the weekend, the Burton Beach Rowing Club traveled to the annual Covered Bridge Regatta in Eugene, Oregon, for its first long road trip since last October’s trip to Boston.

This was the first real test over 2000 meters for the club in 2024, with clubs from California, Oregon, Utah and Washington in attendance.

Braving the at times cold and rainy conditions over the weekend, the Burton Beach rowers delivered strong results, attaining medals in half of the events entered.

Leading the way with a gold medal performance in the under-17 single was Will Parker. As part of a strong U17 boys team, Will was joined by Briar Guenther to achieve a hard earned silver in the double sculls, behind the always-fast Oregon Unlimited. Joining Parker and Guenther for another silver in the quad sculls were Emmett Cox and Zack Merrigan.

“It was great to see the sportsmanship displayed by all the crews at the finish line,” Parker said. “It’s tough racing, and you gotta respect the efforts that everyone puts in.”

The Covered Bridge regatta also marked the racing return of Zack Merrigan, the 2022 National under-15 and 16 single sculls champion.

The last of the original BBRC founding members, high school senior Keziah Rutschow, used her solid technique to achieve a hard fought silver in the girls U19 single sculls. “Kez” battled a strong wind to finish just behind Oregon’s Claire Sopko.

Juniors Brisa Ordonez-Ramirez and Paige Gibbons rowed a great race in the U19 double, gutting out a bronze in a race won by a fast crew from Ashland’s Rogue Rowing.

One of the highlights of the day was the composite novice girls quadruple sculls boat, stroked by BBRC rower Willa Lee and coxed by Burton’s Maude Jackson. They were joined by Sasquatch Sculler’s Penny Schempf and Commencement Bay’s Elliot Sartori and Mila Froehlich. Getting to know each other on the way to the start, the girls raced in the heaviest rain of the weekend to a very commendable bronze.

Next up for BBRC is the annual trip north of the border to the famous Brentwood Regatta on Vancouver Island, which starts April 26.

Ken Jackson is the president of the Burton Beach Rowing Club.