SARASOTA, Florida – Bainbridge Island’s high school rowers placed among the top 10 crews in the nation during a recent intense weekend of rowing at the USRowing Youth National Championships in Sarasota, Florida.
The Bainbridge Girls Lightweight Four placed sixth in the nation with a time of 7:49.
It was history in the making, according to team officials, as they were the first Bainbridge Island Rowing girls crew to earn a spot in the Grand (A) finals at Youth Nationals ever.
The girls in the boat were Samantha Dore, Jemma Blazina, Tica Drury, Alexina Boudreaux-Allen and coxswain Chrina Munn.
The Boys Lightweight Four earned 10th overall in the nation as well, placing fourth in the Petite (B) final, where they fought off overlapping crews mid-race and pulled out from the pack.
The boys in the boat were David Goon, Schuyler Westerhout, Michael Aber, John Michael Najarian and cox Nathan Johnson.
The Bainbridge Boys Pair, fighting a fickle wind, took seventh in their (C) final, putting them at 19th in the nation. New to pairs rowing, Lars Erickson and Konner Vander Leest showed toughness and perseverance throughout the weekend of racing, team officials said.
On the first day of racing, both the Boys and Girls Bainbridge Lightweight Fours placed second in their heats, securing spots in the semi-finals.
The girls raced under stormy skies, and after they crossed the finish line, rain, thunder, lightning and wind descended on the course, creating a severe weather “microburst” and causing officials to evacuate the venue and shut down races for the remainder of the day.
According to varsity girls Coach Barb Trafton, the crew was forced to quickly abandon their boat on the beach and found safe shelter in a nearby food truck.
BHS Seniors Schuyler Westerhout, Samantha Dore and Alexina Boudreaux-Allen participated in a personal and moving high school graduation ceremony at the regatta site sponsored by USRowing the night before racing began.
“We are proud of our BIR Nationals rowers who showed great composure, strength, and sheer grit racing against the best crews in the country,” said varsity coaches Bruce Beall and Barb Trafton. “Thanks to a great team of parents for supporting them throughout.”