Start the Progression
June 08, 2012
OAK RIDGE, Tenn. - Walking from the recovery dock to the boat scale tent carrying a dripping wet shell, the Charlotte Youth Rowing youth men's double crew was getting a friendly critique from their coach Byron “Doc” Walthall.
They had not finished high enough to advance from their first race of the 2012 USRowing Youth National Championships directly to the semifinal and were slated to row again in the afternoon in the repechage in the hopes of eventually advancing to the Sunday final. He was looking for cleaner finishes and a more aggressive stroke rate in the upcoming second chance event.
His crew appeared to be upbeat and certainly Walthall felt good about being at Melton Hill Lake in Oak Ridge Tenn., and also about his crew’s chances for the afternoon. He and his team have had this day on their calendars since September and after months of practice and racing, they had finally gotten their oars into the water.
“We start planning for this in the fall,” Walthall said. “It’s a goal race. As a youth crew one of our goals is to have everybody row in a regatta as long as they have been good with attendance and so fourth. But we don’t guarantee everybody a seat for the regional qualifier and obviously we don’t guarantee everybody a seat here because if you don’t qualify for nationals you don’t go.
“But this is our sixth year of qualifying and for a small team from the Southeast, we’re pretty positive about it,” he said.
That was largely the feeling all around Melton Hill Lake today when 158 clubs from all across the country switched from practice mode to racing as the first heats of the three-day championship got started this morning under bright blue skies and unusually cool temperatures for this venue.
For just over 11 hours of racing, crews began the progression that will whittle the number of crews racing for a national championship from 360 to 108 by Sunday when the finals will begin.
Today’s racing set up some fast lineups for tomorrow’s semifinal where defending champions will face challengers for the opportunity to keep the trophies that they won last year or turn them over to new victors.
Among the more hotly contested events coming from the heats will be in the semifinal of the women’s youth single where three 2011 national champions all advanced, including the defending champion in the event, Tampa Prep’s Taylor Burdge. Joining her in the semifinals are Y Quad Cities’ Elizabeth Sharis, who won in the youth women’s double last year, and GMS Rowing Center’s Rosemary Grinalds, who won gold in the 2011 women’s youth pair.
In the big boat events of the afternoon, the winners of the heats advance directly to the semifinal. The remainder race again in the morning in the second chance races.
Defending champions in the men’s youth lightweight eight, Marin Rowing Association of Greenbrae, Calif. won their heat and will be challenged by Oakland Strokes Rowing Club, St. Joseph’s Preparatory School of Philadelphia, and Sarasota Crew.
Also defending in the women’s and men’s youth eights, Marin advanced directly to the semifinal in those two events with wins in their respective heats.
Joining the Marin women as heat winners were the crews from Oakland Strokes, Cincinnati Junior Rowing Club, and Flourtown, Pennsylvania based Mount St. Joseph Academy.
In the men’s event, Marin will be joined by Sarasota Crew, Cincinnati Juniors, and Mercer Junior Rowing Club.
Racing resumes tomorrow morning with repechage racing followed in the afternoon by semifinals. All finals will be run Sunday.
Click here for heat sheets and results,
Semifinal and finals racing can be seen on live stream broadcasting beginning Saturday by visiting http://www.ustream.tv/usrowing
One week following the event, race clips will be available to download at http://www.usrowing.org/Multimedia/VideoDownloads.aspx
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For complete press coverage of the 2012 USRowing Youth National Championships, visit http://www.usrowing.org/Events/YouthNationals/2012YNCPress.aspx.
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