Eighteen National Titles Awarded at the 2017 Youth National Championships
By Genevieve Carrillo • June 12, 2017
Sarasota-Bradenton, Fla — As the men’s quad raced down the course on Sunday morning, all four men in the New Canaan boat had one thing on their minds: “no more silvers.”
The team cohesion could be felt on the shores of Nathan Benderson Park as the boat from Connecticut surged down the course in the final 250 meters. For the boys, this meant more than a 2017 championship, it severed as a redemption row for a second-place finish in the 2016 event.
“Every single stroke we have taken in the last year has been for today,” said stroke seat John Norton, who was one of three rowers returning to the quad.
The united focus in the boat paid off, as the quad overtook GMS by four seconds in the final, finishing with a time of 6:11.75.
Finals at the 2017 USRowing Youth National Championships, June 9-11, began early Sunday morning with the A finals and progressed to B, C and D finals throughout the morning, wrapping up by 1:00 p.m. Unlike Saturday, the weather left the course unscathed.
While some crews were creating legacies, others were determined to maintain them.
Saugatuck Rowing Club found success in the women’s eight, winning its final with a time of 6:29.01. With a majority of the boat being seniors, this win served as the perfect opportunity to end their youth racing careers with a bang before heading off to college in the fall.
For these nine women, the motivation to perform well came from their younger teammates at home who supported them throughout the week.
“I just want to give a big shout-out to all the younger [Saugatuck] girls back at home, because we got texts from you guys the entire time we were here,” said Grace McGinley, a senior and 2016 USRowing Fan’s Choice Junior Athlete of the Year. “The texts saying you were watching the video and cheering us on made us feel really connected to the entire team. The team culture is just so amazing and we definitely could not do this alone.”
One of the largest winning margins of the day was the unstoppable Connecticut Boat Club women’s youth pair of Kaitlyn Kynast and Julia Cornacchia. The pair appeared to be in a race of its own as it crossed the line in 7:30.98, more than 20 seconds ahead of the other competitors.
On the contrary, a down-to-the-line sprint earned RowAmerica – Rye’s men’s pair a national title by 0.20 seconds. It was a victory that pleasantly surprised rowers Sean Hayes and Gus Rodriguez.
“We knew Newport was fast going into this race, and they definitely proved that they are an absolute class act. They put on a fantastic move in the last 500,” said stroke seat Hayes. “I don’t know about Gus here, but I was holding on for dear life.”
In what was arguably one of the most competitive field of clubs in USRowing Youth National Championships history, 13 finals on Sunday came down to photo-finishes.
Watch the footage of finals below:
Official results available here.