Interstate 5 heading South was busy with boat trailers last weekend, as the rowing world converged on Lowell, Oregon for the annual Covered Bridge Regatta.
Held on the waters of the Dexter Reservoir just down the road from Eugene, the event attracted 30 clubs from Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and California. The rowers from Burton Beach Rowing Club had a strong showing with every member of the team bringing home at least one medal during the 2-day event on Saturday and Sunday, April 15 and 16.
The boys rowers started things off for the club when Sophomore Grant Gonter and 8th grader Briar Guenther each took the bronze in their respective single event. The BBRC boys rowers also took the bronze in the Novice Coxed Quad rowed by Guenther, Ling Ling Endelin, Emmet Cox, Dash Henson, and Kiero Ambler as the coxswain. The boys quad of Forest Macnab, Nate Wass de Czege, Max Jackson, and Grant Gonter also took the bronze in the U19 event.
The girls also had a strong showing bringing home two medals. Senior Ella Jones and Junior Taylor Huffman started things off with a silver medal in the girls U19 pair. That was followed by a gold medal in the girls JV 8, which proved to be a memorable event for the club.
For most of the girls in the boat, this was only their third time ever rowing in an 8. The first time came during last year’s event, and the second time came last week when the Vashon Island Rowing Club was kind enough to let them borrow their 8 so they could practice once before this race.
“Our club focuses on sculling, which is each person in the boat rowing 2 oars. In an 8, each rower has only one oar. That is called sweeping, and while we do practice it and occasionally race in those events, it’s not something we focus on,” said BBRC Coach Richard Parr. “It was exciting to see our girls race so well in the 8 and to see all of our rowers, both boys and girls, having fun and succeeding.”
The girls took third out of five boats in the race. As the fastest of the three JV boats, they took home the gold for the JV race. After the race, a little bit of serendipity intervened. Near the boat launch, the University of Oregon club team had two 8-person boats that they no longer needed. Seeing the looks on the BBRC rowers faces, they offered one of their boats to the club.
“We are so grateful to the University of Oregon club for donating their boat to our club that both our boys and girls are going to put to good use on the waters of Quartermaster Harbor,” said Parr. “We’re also grateful to South Eugene for letting us borrow their boat during our race, and to our neighbors at Vashon Island Rowing Club who were generous enough to let us load our new boat on their trailer and bring it home to the island.”