Three rowers from the Burton Beach Rowing Club made the trek to Sarasota, Florida for the US Rowing Youth National Championships held at Nathan Benderson Park, June 8-11.
The event draws more than 800 athletes from 225 clubs from around the United States.
Ella Jones, a senior, started things off for the club rowing in the Women’s Youth Single. Based on the results of her time trial on Thursday, she raced in the C final on Saturday where she finished fourth, and 20th overall.
“I couldn’t have asked for a more satisfying, enjoyable, and rewarding end to my last year as a junior rower. I’m so proud of my teammates, Ella and Grant, and I know they’ll continue to grow as rowers and as people,” said Jones, who will be rowing with the University of Washington starting this fall. “I’m also satisfied with my own performance, and I can’t wait to continue my rowing at a collegiate level.”
Grant Gonter, a sophomore, rowed in the Men’s U17 Single. His time trial qualified him for the semi-final on Friday, where he finished sixth. He turned around less than 24 hours later and rowed to an impressive third-place finish in the B final, earning 11th place overall.
“It was great getting to row at such an amazing venue, a place specifically designed for rowing. It was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced,” said Gonter. “I also enjoyed competing against so many great athletes from all over the country.”
Ella Odegard, a freshman, rowed in the Women’s U17 Single. She also qualified for the C final where she finished seventh, which put her in 23rd place overall.
“Even with the 90-degree heat and nervousness making my oar handles slippery with sweat before the race started, rowing in Florida will definitely be a special memory,” said Odegard. “I felt lucky to be at Nationals and I’m grateful to everyone who helped us to be here, especially all of our teammates back home.”
On Sunday, after racing was concluded, BBRC’s head coach, Richard Parr, reflected on the weekend.
“We were really proud of all three rowers this week. Each of them rowed well and improved on their performances at regionals,” he said. “Rowing in Florida in 90-degree heat and crazy humidity is a real challenge, but our athletes did great. We rowed well, had a great time, and made some good memories.”
The club will take a couple of weeks off before picking the oars back up and starting summer practice later in June.