VANCOUVER – Nationals, here we come.
The Bainbridge High School Crew team rowed hard and fast last weekend, earning 15 medals at the USRowing Northwest Junior District (Regionals) Championships on Vancouver Lake in Vancouver, Washington.
For the third year in a row, both boys and girls varsity teams qualified to compete at the National Championships.
The Bainbridge Varsity Girls Lightweight 8+ and Varsity Boys 4+ — finishing second and third, respectively — earned a chance to compete at the USRowing Youth National Championships in Lake Natoma, near Sacramento, California, June 12 – 15.
The Varsity Girls Lightweight 8+ boat consisted of Tica Drury, Elsa Godtfredsen, Jessie Sheldon, Anneke Karreman, Jemma Blazina, Julia Denlinger, Samantha Dore, Kate Hathaway and coxswain Sydney Gibbs.
The Varsity Boys 4+, who also earned a lane at Nationals, included: Keegan Dymoke, Walker Hauptmann, Alex Derry, Matthew Greenwood and coxswain Keith Carlson.
In addition to the Varsity Boys 4+ third-place win, the Varsity Boys B4+ boat powered through their race on Saturday, earning silver medals in a competitive field. They included Henry Lant, Garrett Johnson, Trevor Wikstrom, John Michael Najarian and cox Madeline Crawford.
In one of the last races of the three-day regatta, the Varsity Boys A High School 8+ stormed the 2,000-meter course, putting open water between them and all competitors, earning first place for the second year in a row.
The Varsity Boys B High School 8+ then took to the waters and proved their mettle by snagging second place. In a display of pride and unity, the two squads crowded the winners’ platform together, medals all around and trophy held high.
The Bainbridge Island Rowing Varsity Girls had a mixed showing at this year’s Regionals event.
The Varsity Girls 8+ and 4+ narrowly missed out on nationals’ qualification with both finishing fifth, mere seconds out of medal contention.
Racing went better for the Lightweights, with the Varsity 8+ coming in second and qualifying for Nationals.
The Lightweight B4+ won their event handily with open water on the field. The boat consisted of Jessie Sheldon, Julia Denlinger, Tica Drury, Elsa Godtfredsen and cox Sydney Gibbs.
“We have some very talented senior rowers and it’s a shame they won’t be going to Nationals,” said Coach Chris Lane. “Early in the season we were 20 seconds behind the top team. We ended it being less than 10 seconds back, which is really a fantastic gain.”
The Novice Boys did Bainbridge proud by showing the best performance for Bainbridge novice boys yet.
The highlight for the Novice Boys squad was the Boys A 4+ that took second in a very competitive field of older and bigger kids, or as Coach Tim Goss said simply of the squad, “They row quite well together.” The boat included Matthew Derry, Scott Musselwhite, Will de Rubertis, Colin O’Keefe and cox Matthew Carlson.
The Novice Boys A 8+ took fourth in the premiere event, the best Bainbridge novice boys have ever placed. The boys in the boat were Aidan Stearns, Dan Queen, Cameron Bailey, Konner Vander Leest, Matthew Derry, Scott Musselwhite, Will de Rubertis, Colin O’Keefe and cox Matthew Carlson.
The Novice Boys B 4+ also did well, taking home the first-place trophy and also medals in their heats. Gold medalists included Seth Ruud, Colby Hayes, Aidan Stearns, Konner Vander Leest and cox Andy Kruse.
The 14-year-old Youth 4x (sculling) finished in second place with their fastest time all season. Rowers were Noah Sherris, Colby Hayes, Andrew Beckett, Dan Queen and cox Andy Kruse.
“The commitment and focus of this year’s group bodes well for future years as the rowers grow in strength and ability,” noted Coach Goss.
The Novice Girls medaled in four events, also taking home an event trophy in the final regatta of the season.
The race weekend started with the girls racing in timed finals for the Novice B 4+. Of the three boats medalling in the race, Bainbridge ended up taking home both first and third places.
In taking first, the girls not only medaled, but also brought the Novice B 4+ trophy back to Bainbridge. First-place winners were Cox Caitlin Deavy, Grace Nikunen, Sophie Townsend, Amalie Millerd and Delaney Erickson. Third-place medalists included Cox Kalyn Warren, Julia Sordello, Elsa Derrickson, Ruth Young and Alexina Boudreaux-Allen.
During Saturday races, the novice girls competed in heats with both Novice 8+ boats making the final on Sunday morning. The Novice A 8+ was just .3 seconds behind the first place time, giving them hope for Sunday’s races.
According to Coach April Podbregar, as races began early Sunday morning, the girls were “excited and prepared” to participate in their last race of the season.
The Novice A 8+ captured a close third, just behind Pocock and Green Lake Rowing Clubs. Rowers included Cox Caitlin Deavy, Grace Nikunen, Sophie Townsend, Kayla Buchmeier, Erin McGee, Amalie Millerd, Delaney Erickson, Carly Lant and Jade Greer.
The Novice B 8+ gave Pocock Rowing Club a run for their money in the final 500 meters and took second to Pocock by a mere 1.4 seconds. The girls in the boat were Cox Sophie Bodlovich, Julia Sordello, Elsa Derrickson, Ruth Young, Alexina Boudreaux-Allen, Julia Fradkin, Isabella Frawley, Julia Gray and Katie Larsen.
“For the club overall, this was a solid Regionals,” Goss said. “Events like this would not be complete without the successes that make you cheer and disappointments that make you weep.”
“That’s what racing is all about,” he added. “These Bainbridge kids put 100 percent into it and each one would come back next weekend to put themselves through the paces again.”
Twenty-six clubs from three states sent 665 crews to the Northwest district championships, the largest of USRowing’s five regional championships in the United States.
“We look forward to tracking our two boats heading to Nationals in Sacramento,” Goss said. “May they find that magical boat speed when everything comes together.”