Vashon Island Rowing Club brought home multiple medals from the 40th annual Head of the Lake regatta in Seattle on Sunday, Nov. 3.
An event that has been plagued by nasty weather in recent years, the 2019 edition of the regatta was kissed by mild temperatures, minimal wind, gorgeous fall colors and sunny skies.
Vashon kicked off the event in style by returning their Masters Mixed 8 to the top of the medal stand with a powerful, gold medal row around the buoyed 4.8-kilometer course that starts in Lake Union and finishes in front of the UW Conibear Shell House on Lake Washington.
“That was a great row,” said Vashon rower Chad Magnuson. “It was a tremendous pleasure to row with three men who were my mentors when I joined the club in 2010 and four women who represent the new growth of VIRC.”
The winning Mixed-8 lineup included Zabette Macomber, Kit Gruver, John Jannetty, Chad Magnuson, Bruce Morser, Bob Horsley, Tara Morgan, Sarah Eden and coxswain Lisa Huggenvik.
Vashon nearly had to resort to silent commands from the cox seat as the boat’s speaker system went out just before race time.
“Lisa peeled the tape off her wrenches and Kit managed to tape the connection in a hard to reach spot to restore the audio,” said VIRC’s John Jannetty.
Among the Vashon juniors, Sunday’s highlight was Bowie Hichens’ outstanding bronze medal performance in the men’s junior single.
“Race of the day goes to Bowie in the single,” said coach Ben Steele.
Three other Vashon Masters boats medaled on Sunday, including two more mixed boats. In the mixed masters quad, the lineup of Mary Rothermel, Scott Engelhard, Foss Miller and Su Dewalt finished third. A bronze medal also went to Chad Magnuson and Lea Heffernan, a formidable mixed masters double pairing who hadn’t raced together in over a year.
Finally, Vashon’s Gail Brownell continued her red-hot head racing season, teaming up with Joanne Wallis for a strong silver medal finish in the women’s masters double.
VIRC Masters Coach Sarah Deal said, “I am so impressed by the quality, depth and enthusiasm displayed …. this weekend.”
— Jeff Hoyt is a rower for the Vashon Island Rowing Club.