Gold, Silver and Bronze for U.S. at 2017 World Rowing Junior Championships

TRAKAI, Lithuania — U.S. sculler Clark Dean (Sarasota, Fla.) ended a 50-year gold medal drought in the men’s single sculls and the United States came away with silver in the men’s eight and bronze in the women’s four on finals day at the 2017 World Rowing Junior Championships.

Dominating the heat, quarterfinal and semifinal en route to winning gold, all eyes were on the 6’4” U.S. sculler, as the competitors backed into the starting blocks in the final. At 17, Dean was the youngest sculler at the line, with his main challenger next to him in lane four. Germany’s Moritz Wolff finished second behind Dean in the heats, but had the fastest quarterfinal time of the field and confidently won his semifinal leading into today’s medal race.

Dean was first off the start and never relinquished his lead, crossing at 34 strokes-per-minute with a time of 7:04.73 for the gold medal, 3.25 seconds over Wolff’s 7:07.98. South Africa’s Mmbudzeni Masutha took the bronze medal in 7:11.10. The last time an under 19 U.S. single sculler won the event was at FISA’s first Youth Regatta in 1967 when Jim Dietz, men’s vice chair on USRowing’s Board of Directors took the lead over The Netherlands and Germany.

“It’s been a long stream in the single; this was our fourth race,” said Dean. “All three [medalists] knew each other since the first race and sort of all thought we would be in contention for a medal. Since the heats, we’ve been looking at times. The conditions were great today, which made it easy to race your toughest race, compared to the quarters and semis, which were a bit rougher.”

Dean’s gold medal win came less than two hours after his final of the men’s four with coxswain, where he joined the crew of Ryan Williams (Wakefield, Mass.), Oliver Babb (Atlanta, Ga.), Clay Watson (Palo Alto, Calif.) and Peter Chatain (Winnetka, Ill.). The United States took the lead off the start, but lost steam over the middle thousand as Switzerland took the lead, followed by Italy, Germany and South Africa. Ukraine edged out the U.S. crew by 0.05 seconds at the line for fifth place, and the U.S. crossed sixth in 6:43.49. Italy won gold in 6:33.71, Switzerland took silver in 6:36.91 and Germany won bronze in 6:37.95.

In one of the closest races of the day, the U.S. men’s eight closed out the regatta with a silver medal. Germany, Great Britain and the United States all recorded close times in the heats earlier in the week. Off of the start, the Russian crew took off quickly, with Germany following in second and the United States crew of coxswain Sydney Edwards (Sarasota, Fla.), Trey Holterman (Hillsborough, Calif.), Chase Barrows (Everett, Wash.), Nolan Parks (Seattle, Wash.), Harrison Burke (Westport, Conn.), Spencer Brennessel (San Francisco, Calif.), Nikita Lilichenko (Orinda, Calif.), Christian Tabash (Vienna, Va.) and Spencer Dettlinger (Alamo, Calif.) in third place.

The three crews continued to push each other and the U.S. took the lead at the 1,500-meter mark but was overtaken by Germany. The final sprint resulted in a photo-finish for silver and bronze with just 0.16 seconds between the U.S. and Great Britain. Germany defended the gold in 5:49.13, with the United States taking silver in 5:50.10 and Great Britain with bronze in 5:50.26.

“I really think none of us have any regrets,” said Edwards, who is the first female coxswain to compete as part of a U.S. men’s crew, upon FISA’s March decision to lift gender restrictions on coxswains. “It was a pretty good race. I think in the last 250 meters, we were caught a little off guard. We would have loved a gold, but we are really happy with the results.”

In the women’s four, the U.S. held off China in the final 500 meters to win the bronze medal, making this the eighth-consecutive podium finish for the U.S. in the event. The U.S. crew of Kelsey McGinley (Westport, Conn.), Riley Lynch (Vashon, Wash.), Kaitlyn Kynast (Ridgefield, Conn.) and Rose Carr (Newark, Del.) got off the line in fourth, with Croatia establishing the lead. At the midway point, the U.S. pulled into the third position, which it maintained through the finish line. The U.S. crossed in third for the bronze medal in 7:04.60. Croatia won gold in 6:57.75 with Romania earning silver in 7:00.87.

“We were a little bit down throughout the race, but we are pleased with the result,” said Carr, a three-time junior national team member that finished ninth in quad at last year’s championships.

The U.S. women’s quadruple sculls of Anna Matthes (Cambridge, Mass.), Caroline Sharis (Bettendorf, Iowa), Taylor English (La Claire, Iowa) and Kate Miles (Oakland, Calif.) held a consistent fifth place over the 2,000-meter final, crossing in 6:58.80. Romania edged out Germany by less than a second to win gold in 6:46.27, with Switzerland taking bronze.

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B Finals

The U.S. men’s quadruple sculls lineup of Emory Sammons (Fort Plain, N.Y.), James Wright (Philadelphia, Pa.), Liam Galloway (Ridgefield, Conn.) and Gus Rodriguez (Rye, N.Y.) dominated its final, finishing first in a time of 6:17.89, for seventh place overall.

In the B final of the women’s eight, the U.S. maintained the lead over Belarus and Australia throughout the 2,000 meter course. The crew of coxswain Aparajita Chauhan (Seattle, Wash.), Julia Braz(Sarasota, Fla.), Azja Czajkowski (Chula Vista, Calif.), Katryna Niva (Davis, Calif.), Fran Raggi (Winter Park, Fla.), Christiana Congdon (Concord, N.H.), Teal Cohen (Dallas, Texas), Jenna Van De Grift (San Diego, Calif.) and Miranda Nykolyn (Huntington, N.Y.) won the race in 6:43.36, earning seventh place overall.

The U.S. women’s pair of Kate Burns (Ann Arbor, Mich.) and Kaitlin Knifton (Austin, Texas) finished third in 8:03.63 for 9th place overall.

Daniel Stoddard (West Windsor, N.J.) and Andrew Hickey (Yardley, Pa.) raced to a fifth-place finish in the men’s pair, overtaking Germany in the last few strokes to cross the line in a time of 7:20.09 for 11th place overall.

The conclusion of the event brought optimism to the coaches and staff of the U.S. Under 19 National Team.

“This event was special for our Under 19 athletes and coaches on so many levels. We continue to build the program across both sculling and sweep, and we are seeing positive results,” said Steve Hargis, USRowing Junior National Team Development Coach. “On the sculling side, the fifth-place finish of the women’s quad, the seventh-place finish of the men’s quad and the outstanding performance by our new world champion, Clark Dean in the single, point to a solid future in sculling, with six of these nine athletes returning next year.”

“On the sweep side, we saw the commanding performance of the women’s eight that won the B final with open water, the women’s four medaling yet again, as has been the case every year since 2010, and the men’s eight winning a third-consecutive silver medal. We are excited by our future potential and the junior team’s ability to represent the U.S. well on the international stage.”

The 2018 World Rowing Junior Championships are scheduled for August 8-12 in Racice, Czech Republic.

Complete press coverage, results and athlete bios can be found at www.usrowing.org and www.worldrowing.com.

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