Island rowers claim victories off the water

US Rowing held their virtual National Youth Championships in lieu of their annual on-water regatta.

  • Saturday, June 27, 2020 3:48pm
  • Sports

By Richard Parr

For The Beachcomber

Although US Rowing has canceled all of its on-water regattas until the end of 2020, that hasn’t stopped the country’s rowers from competing against each other.

Like so many other things, rowing has gone virtual, with on-water competitions being replaced by various indoor rowing machine (erg) challenges. US Rowing held their virtual National Youth Championships last week in lieu of their annual on-water regatta, which had been scheduled for Florida this past weekend.

Competing in the Under 17 division, Davis Kelly became Burton Beach Rowing Club’s first junior national champion when he won the gold with an outstanding score of 6:23, exactly five seconds ahead of his nearest rival from the Texas Rowing Center. Joining Davis on the Youth Nationals “virtual podium” was Burton Beach 8th grader and 13-year old Keziah Rutschow, whose 8:10 score was strong enough to secure the bronze medal in the Under 15 division, won by North Carolina’s Triangle Rowing Club. Keziah did her erg in the biggest room at Camp Burton, cheered on by a small group of her well-spaced and mask-wearing teammates.

Two weeks previously, Kelly teamed up with rowers from three other clubs in the region to win the junior team title in an erg race sponsored by “Fat Ergos”, a rowing company. Their team, the “Watt Wagon”, comprised Kelly and rowers from Rose City (Portland), Commencement Bay (Tacoma) and Mt. Baker (Seattle).

“It was really good to have the opportunity to compete even though on-water races have been canceled,” Kelly said afterward. “To have been able to be part of a team of such great guys was a bonus.”

Rowers from Burton Beach have been back on the water now for the past few weeks, although boats are limited to singles and “household” doubles. It’s going to be a long while before anything is back to normal with relation to the coronavirus, but the Burton Beach crew are keeping up the miles and the camaraderie.

Also rowing with BBRC are some university rowers keeping fit for what they hope will be a fall season, and two-time US national team member Jacob Plihal, who is training hard for a seat when international rowing re-opens.

Richard Parr is the coach of the Burton Beach Rowing Club.

Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

More in Sports

Varsity Soccer Shines on as Seniors Look to Future

The stands were crowded with spectators showing their support for the seniors on their Senior Night.

Vashon’s Scrappy Baseball Team Learning

It was a week of ups and downs for Vashon baseball in a three-game set against Cascade Christian.

Shutout Streak Continues for Boys’ Soccer, Track and Field Score High

Varsity boys’ soccer team continues shutout streak; Pirates Track & Field team takes on Charles Wright.

Baseball Bounces Back With Three Wins

“This is our team and I couldn’t be happier with the growth.”

There’s Plenty To Cheer About as Pirates, Mustangs Play Ball

Strong performances by cross country, tennis and soccer teams.

Ben Larson (left) and Levi Blasingam (right) running through the muddy grass on their second loop of the cross-country course, which was modified to allow for social distancing.
In Short but Sweet Seasons, Student-Athletes Shine Bright

Cross country, soccer and tennis updates.

Play Ball: Student-Athletes Compete on Fields, Courts Again

Here are The Beachcomber’s first recaps of school sporting events in more than a year.

Kentwood High football. FILE PHOTO
WIAA Executive Board revises Season 1 sports in response to state guidelines

Practices scheduled to begin Feb. 1 for football, volleyball, soccer and 5 other sports

Islander’s Gift Will Pay for New Rowing Shell for Local Club

Vashon Island Rowing Club member Bruce Morser painted a portrait of the late Ron and Marion Robbins.

Island Rowers Claim Virtual Victories, Look Ahead

Rowers at Burton Beach Rowing Club are training hard and setting some new personal standards.

Cross Country Captain Ella Yarkin Leads the Charge

Yarkin deeply appreciates the time she spends on the move.

The Mercer Island boys basketball celebrates their 61-36 victory over Interlake in the 3A KingCo championship game on Feb. 11, 2020, at Sammamish High School. File photo
WIAA pushes back return to play for prep sports

Season 2 now begins Feb. 1 and seasons have been shortened to seven weeks each.