Fast Times and Medals At 2012 Youth Nationals
June 10, 2012
OAK RIDGE, Tenn. - And the west wins big - again.
For the second consecutive year, crews from the Southwest dominated the top of the medal podium at the 2012 USRowing Youth National Championships in all four eight events. In 2011 it was Marin Rowing Association of Greenbrae, California that took three of the four eights events, including the lightweight youth men’s eight and the men’s and women’s youth eight.
This year, on Melton Hill Lake in Oak Ridge, Tenn., Marin missed a three-boat repeat by just one medal color, taking silver in the women’s eight but repeating as champions in the lightweight men’s youth eight and men’s youth eight.
Marin was unseated as the women’s champs by their rivals from the Oakland Strokes Rowing Club, whose crews won both the lightweight youth women’s eight and the women’s youth eight. Marin finished second and Cincinnati Junior Rowing Club took third in the women’s youth eight while Capital Crew finished second in the lightweight women’s eight followed in third by Los Gatos Rowing Club.
“Overall, we just had a great group this year,” said Oakland Coach Derek Brynes. “We had just one hiccup at our regional, but I mean just a phenomenal year. Talk about a new level of women’s rowing. That was such an amazing field out there.”
Marin’s championship in the men’s eight did not come with out drama. Just before the start of the last race of the regatta, the Marin eight and the Saugatuck Rowing Club eight warming up for the B final collided at the top of the race course.
Marin sustained enough damage to require them to row back to the launch area for repairs. The Saugatuck crew suffered injuries that would result in a medical substitution for two crewmembers. The injuries were not serious but Saugatuck did not have the personnel and dropped out of the race.
After a delay of ninety minutes, Marin went to the line, jumped into the lead from the start and just kept opening up, finishing well ahead of second place Sarasota Crew and third place Mt. Baker.
“A bit of an exciting afternoon, a stressful afternoon, a very fast afternoon,” said Marin executive director and women’s head coach, Sandy Armstrong. “They were unnerved when they got back,” Armstrong said of her men’s crew. “They were unnerved of all emotions, of anger and surprise and a little bit of shock.
“We got them back out and made them all feel fine and I think once they got back on the water and had that two-thousand meter row up they got right back into their element and realized everything was OK.”
Of finishing second in the women’s eight, Armstrong said: “When we beat Oakland at regionals, that was a big surprise and they were never going to let that happen again. And we knew it and we worked really hard and we were going to have to get through them again. We chased and chased and chased but they are so strong and they have an unbelievably great coach and we have all made each other faster, which has been great.”
The regatta began on Friday with perfect blue skies and cool temperatures. As the 361 crews that traveled here from 30 states progressed through the heats into Saturday’s semifinals, the air grew hot and heavy and clouds began closing in. By Sunday morning a light steady rain fell and thunderstorms threatened.
With 18 national championships on the line, the weather did not slow the racing down and in the first final of the day, Rosemary Grinalds from Connecticut based GMS Rowing Center charged into the lead early in the women’s youth single sculls and held the length of the course.
Elizabeth Sharis from Y Quad Cities fell into second, challenged in the final 250 meters, but could not catch Grinalds, who won with a time of 8:08.734, followed by Sharis in 8:11.015 and Cicely Madden of Boston’s Community Rowing, Inc. in 8:15.310.
It was the first of two gold medals that Grinalds would win toady. Just three hours after the women’s single victory, Grinalds sat in the bow seat of the women’s youth quadruple sculls. GMS jumped into the lead in the first quarter of the race and just pushed further ahead of the pack throughout the race, finishing about two boat lengths out in a time of 7:01.780.
mmunity Rowing Association trailed in second, finishing in 7:09.815 followed by Seattle Rowing Center in 7:11.355.
“That was so exciting,” Grinalds said. “We put in so much training and so many hours on the river in New Milford and it was great to see it all pay off today. My coach and I talked about this and we just wanted to go out with a last push. It’s a great way to cap off my senior year and finish my high school rowing career. It was great.”
In the men’s youth single Seattle Rowing Center’s Christopher Wales led a tight pack down the course but stayed in front and watched as Serra High School’s Robert Vernazza and Neried Boat Club’s Anthony Criscitiello battled for silver and bronze. Wales won in 7:32.104, followed by Vernazza in 7:34.385 and Criscitiello in 7:34.638.
Following the lightweight women’s double sculls event and a gold medal for Pelham’s Emma Landauer and Marygail Dibuono, the women’s open double sculls lined up.
Off the start Long Beach Rowing Association’s Jillian McGill and MacKenzi Sherman took a very early lead and sat on it the length of the course, winning in 7:36.144. Long Beach Junior Crew finished second in 7:40.472 and Saugatuck Rowing Club took third in 7:41.578.
As the racing moved through the remaining sculling and small boat events, medals and trophies were presented and the big crew events began.
Despite the last race delay, the day’s end drama, the regatta was another Oak Ridge success said Armstrong.
“Overall, this regatta is so well run. I love this venue. It’s great venue and thank goodness it was cooler than last year. It was well run and the officials did a great job.”
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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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