VIRC’s girls’ four (Kalie and Katrina Heffernan, Selina and Aria Mildon) crossing the line for gold at Saturday’s Green Lake Summer Extravaganza. (Jordan Petram photo)

Vashon rowers perform well at annual Green Lake summer regatta

The Vashon Island Rowing Club wrapped up its summer camp sessions with a trip to Seattle’s Green Lake last Saturday, for the annual Green Lake Summer Extravaganza Regatta. And with a crew of 30 juniors — including a couple of Vashon Crew alumni — and one master, the club finished the day with 15 medals in 21 events.

Coach Richard Parr was pleased with the nine gold, four silver and two bronze haul, particularly given that a good number of the juniors had just arrived back on the island from Germany. They spent a couple of weeks on an exchange visit with a German crew that spent some time on Vashon this past spring.

Kicking off the club’s gold-medal run was the intermediate (JV equivalent) girls’ eight, followed by an outstanding win by the novice boys’ four of Jordon Rutschow (stroke), Willem Brown, Joshua Kyles, Ryan Weller and coxswain Brian DeLoach, who beat crews from Pocock, Bainbridge and Green Lake with only a few weeks of rowing experience under their belts. The same five boys plus Cian Sheer (stroke) Nick Winkler, Renz O’Meara and Liam Laak grabbed more gold in the novice boys’ eight.

There was no resting on laurels for the girls after achieving the first win of the day, as a crew of sisters, including one alum — Kalie Heffernan, stroke, Katrina Heffernan, Selina Mildon and Aria Mildon — won both the quad and four. Kalie Heffernan, VIRC junior crew 2015 alum, also raced with her mother, masters rower Lea Heffernan, in the master’s women’s double for a silver medal.

Not to be outdone, the under-16 girls’ quad of Gabby Graves, Kate Kelly, Ava Lorentzen, Olivia Hoyt and coxswain Sam Ziegler crushed the competition in their event with a stunning 10-length win over second place.

Also collecting gold were the girls’ intermediate four and boys’ intermediate four of Aiden Teachout, Seth Rosen, brothers Oz and Bowie Hichens and coxswain Flora Briggs.

And along with the silver she collected with her daughter, Lea Heffernan added another silver in the open women’s four (with three juniors) and a bronze medal in a mixed double with Oz Hichens to her take for the day.

Overall, Parr said the day was a success both on and off the water.

“It was a beautiful day, and we had great food and turn out from our wonderful parent volunteers,” he said.

With summer rowing camps now done, junior crew takes a brief break before the fall season begins in a few weeks, and Parr is looking ahead with positive anticipation.

“I am really excited about the quality of our returning rowers this coming season, especially the potential of these novice boys,” he said. “They are the best group of summer-camp novice boys we’ve had, and I hope we see them back with us in the fall. ”

Fall registration for junior crew is now open; for more information, see

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