Inaugural Masters Head Race National Championship Complete
September 16, 2012
The inaugural USRowing Masters Head Race National Championship saw 68 gold medals awarded on Sunday in Cleveland, Ohio.
Co-hosted by the Cleveland Rowing Foundation, the regatta included 128 entries from 40 clubs and 18 states. Raced on the Cuyahoga River, the 4,800-meter course included five major river turns, giving athletes a challenging course right through the heart of downtown Cleveland.
On the water, Pittsburgh’s Three Rivers Rowing Association won nine gold medals to lead the way, while Cleveland’s Western Reserve Rowing Association won eight gold medals and contributed to four more as part of composite boats.
Saint Joseph Academy Rowing Club’s Rob Zdankiewicz brought home titles in the men’s lightweight AA single sculls and the mixed masters A four with coxswain.
“It’s my home course, so I feel like I had an advantage knowing the turns,” Zdankiewicz said. “I’ve been rowing on the river for over 10 years, so I think that was beneficial. It’s wonderful for the city (to have the event here.) We’ve been growing rowing here in Cleveland for a while now. It’s gotten really big. We’re at max capacity in the boathouse. It’s just a growing sport that we’re trying to get visibility for around the city and around the Midwest and the country.”
On the medal stand, athletes got the opportunity to meet Olympians Susan Francia and Margot Shumway, a Cleveland-area native, who were in town to present the awards and meet the athletes and spectators.
“It was an amazing treat,” said Cleveland Rowing Foundation Executive Director Theresa Gang. “I think everyone was excited. Who doesn’t want to see a gold medal or listen or talk to someone who has been training with the Olympic team? I think it was an incredible opportunity. When you get to meet them on a personal level, you know they are hard workers.”
As co-hosts, the Cleveland Rowing Foundation got tremendous support from the local community. Greater Cleveland Sports Commission, Positively Cleveland, Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District, Hunnington, ArcelorMittal and Cleveland Clinic all stepped up to sponsor the inaugural event.
“I have faith that this will be an enormous event as it grows,” Gang said. “I’m excited that Cleveland got to be the first to host it. I hope that eventually there will be head race championships for other divisions as well.”
Complete results can be found at http://www.usrowing.org/Events/MastersHeadRace.aspx.
View USRowing's Flickr photo gallery: http://www.flickr.com/photos/usrowing/sets/72157631574564929/.
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