Tor Ormseth and Rohin Petram sit in their double before racing to a personal best time of 6:55 in the repechage at the Youth National Championships in Sarasota, Florida. (Jordan Petram Photo)

Tor Ormseth and Rohin Petram sit in their double before racing to a personal best time of 6:55 in the repechage at the Youth National Championships in Sarasota, Florida. (Jordan Petram Photo)

Vashon Island Rowing Club juniors earn spot in top 18 at Nationals

  • Wednesday, June 12, 2019 12:42pm
  • Sports

In past years, it’s been a bittersweet badge of honor. Most of the past 15 or so years have seen the Vashon Island Rowing Club (VIRC) send senior rowers to the Youth National Championships on the same weekend as high school graduation, costing them the privilege of walking across the Vashon High School stage to accept their diplomas with their friends.

The timing has been more fortuitous in recent years, allowing VIRC’s 2019 seniors Tor Ormseth and Rohin Petram to not only compete at Nationals last weekend in Florida, but also to walk the stage at graduation ceremonies back home on the island the following weekend.

Rowing against the nation’s best junior athletes at Nathan Benderson Park in Sarasota, Florida, June 6 through 9, Ormseth and Petram pushed through a heat index that topped 100 degrees to finish fifth in the final race of their VIRC rowing careers. Coming in the C Final, the result slotted Ormseth and Petram at 17th overall in the nation.

Ormseth and Petram, top, as racing gets underway at Nationals. (Jordan Petram Photo)

Ormseth and Petram, top, as racing gets underway at Nationals. (Jordan Petram Photo)

“Over the past five years, Tor and I have experienced a lot of racing against some seriously fast crews,” said Petram. “This weekend we faced some of the toughest competition that we have ever had to go up against.”

“I think that both of us are proud of where we ended up,” said Ormseth, “and the races we had were a great way to finish up our high school rowing careers.”

Boats must finish in the top three in their qualifying regatta in order to even earn an invite to Youth Nationals, so the field that travelled to Sarasota represented the best crews in the country. After a time trial on Thursday, Ormseth and Petram rowed a personal best of 6:55 in the repechage round on Friday, setting up their final race on Saturday.

“In the last year and a half, I have gotten to watch Tor and Rohin grow into respectful young men,” said VIRC coach Ben Steele. “Their actions as leaders have not only shaped themselves, but have been a guiding force for our younger members.”

After graduation, Petram will attend and row for the University of Washington this fall. His rowing partner Ormseth will attend and row for Oregon State, setting up many opportunities for the good friends to line up on the starting line against each other at Pac-12 regattas throughout their college careers.

“They have been an intricate part of establishing our team culture at VIRC, which thrives on being a devoted family,” said Steele. “It was a pleasure to be their coach, and I can’t wait to see what they accomplish both on and and off the water.”

— Written by Jeff Hoyt, a VIRC masters rower.

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

Island rowers claim victories off the water

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

Pictured: A Mercer Island High School swimmer competes in fall 2019. Washington Interscholastic Activities Association recently announced the girls swim and dive season will be moved to “Season 3,” which begins March 1. File photo
WIAA gives schools option to delay start of prep sports until December

An updated plan moves girls swimming to Season 3 and makes fall cross country an alternate season.

No-show season: WIAA announces cancellation of spring sports, activities

Due to the school closure extension, the cancellation includes all practices, competitions, tournaments and championships, WIAA says.

There’s still hope for spring sports, WIAA announces

Washington Interscholastic Activities Association making contingency plans for high school sports competitions after extension of stay home order.

The WIAA announced Wednesday that if schools reopen at the conclusion of the six-week statewide shutdown ordered last week by Gov. Jay Inslee, then the state championships will go on as planned. (WIAA photo)
WIAA still hoping to hold state championships in May

But if the school shutdown extends past April 24, those championships could be in jeopardy.

Updated: Athletics to continue despite coronavirus threat

School district superintendent said for now games will continue as scheduled; players, coaches react

Ryan Krug Vashon cup soccer match held

The game raised over $2,500 this year.

Pirates season ends at playoffs

The Pirates, winning most of their games this season, lost to Meridian High School

‘Leaving on a high note’: Vashon wrestlers place 11th at state tourney

“It was all thanks to our coaches who believed in us and pushed us to outwork our opponents.”

Boys basketball team heads to playoffs

“We anticipated a close game and the team’s mind was set just right to win.”

Vashon Seals coach says she is stepping down

You could say Lisa MacLeod knows what it’s like to be in… Continue reading

Vashon wins regional championship

Nine athletes are headed to the upcoming state tournament, the largest of its kind of the year.