Decorated Olympians to Face Eager Newcomers at World Championship Trials II
By Maeve Berry • May 15, 2019
With spots on this year’s national team up for grabs in three boat classes, the 2019 Senior World Championship Trials II have brought many of the nation’s top competitors to Mercer Lake in West Windsor, N.J. this week. In addition to the trials, National Selection Regatta II and Speed Order II are running concurrently with trials. Competition runs May 16-19.
In the first of the trials events, New York Athletic Club’s Ellen Tomek (Flushing, Mich.) and Meghan O’Leary (Baton Rouge, La.) will race in the women’s double sculls, hoping for the chance to improve on their bronze-medal finish at the 2018 World Rowing Championships. The crew has proven its power, earning a silver medal at the 2017 World Rowing Championships and reaching the finals at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Although the duo has been at the top of the national scene for several years, it will be tested this week as two-time Olympian Gevvie Stone (Newton, Mass.) continues her pursuit back to the national team. After taking time off following her silver-medal finish in the women’s single sculls at the 2016 Olympics, Stone will be joined by fellow Cambridge Boat Club rower Cicely Madden (Weston, Mass.), who has international experience at the junior and under 23 levels and is looking to make her first senior team.
The Vesper Boat Club/SoCal Scullers composite crew of Margaret Fellows (Greenfield, Mass.) and Julia Lonchar (San Francisco, Calif.), who will be representing the U.S. at the 2019 Pan American Games in the double and quadruple sculls this summer, also is scheduled to compete. Fellows and Lonchar had to go through a U.S. trials event in order to be selected to represent Team USA at the Pan Am qualification regatta, where they finished fourth in the double.
Five-time national team member Nick Trojan (Los Alamitos, Calif.) will join 2018 USRowing Male Athlete of the Year Andrew Campbell (New Canaan, Conn.) in the lightweight men’s double sculls. After taking a year off following a fifth-place finish at the 2016 Olympic Games in the event, Campbell successfully qualified for the the 2018 World Rowing Championships in the lightweight single sculls and won bronze. Racing against Trojan and Campbell and looking to make a comeback is fellow 2016 Olympian Tyler Nase (Phoenixville, Pa.) and three-time national teamer Matthew O’Leary (Westwood, Mass.), who have not been on a national team since 2016 and 2015, respectively.
Additionally, 2018 under 23 lightweight single sculler Zachary Heese (Pelham, N.Y.) has teamed up with Peter Schmidt (Providence, R.I.), who stroked last year’s lightweight double at the world championships and went on to win the 2018 Fall Speed Order. Looking to make their first mark on the senior national team are 2019 Spring Speed Order I winner Jasper Liu (Phoenix, Ariz.) and Daniel Madden (New Rochelle, N.Y.), who finished right behind Lui at SSO I and was a part of the U23 team the last two years.
After an impressive silver-medal finish at the world championships, last year’s lightweight women’s double sculls of Mary Jones (Huntsville, Ala.) and Emily Schmieg (Philadelphia, Pa.) is back for more action. The two will face seven other crews including Christine Cavallo (Windermere, Fla.), who was in last year’s lightweight quad, and Michelle Sechser (Folsom Calif.), who won bronze in the lightweight double at the 2017 World Rowing Championships and just missed a podium finish in 2018 in the lightweight single.
The PR3 men’s pair is the only NSR II event and will see racing from two Community Rowing, Inc. crews. Though this is not a direct world championship qualifier, whichever pair places first will receive an automatic invitation to the PR3 mixed four with coxswain selection camp. Thomas Demers (Andover, Mass.), a 2019 PR3 mixed four alternate, will race with Andrew Wigren, who is athletically versatile and has been a member of the USA Standing Team for hockey. Demers and Wigren will compete against Kyle Smith and four-time national team member Eric McDaniel (Weeki Wachee, Fla.).
Kicking off the two speed order events is CRI’s Hallie Smith (Washington, D.C.), who will race down the course solo in the PR1 women’s single sculls. Smith has represented the U.S. at the last two world championships in the event, winning bronze in 2018.
The 15 entries in the men’s double sculls include many former national team members. The top two finishers in the single at trials I, Michael Knippen (Germantown, Wis.) and Gregory Ansolabehere (Bakersfield, Calif.), will face Justin Keen (Hatfield, Penn.) and John Graves (Cincinnati, Ohio). Knippen, Ansolabehere and Keen all raced together in the quad at last year’s world championships, while Graves was a part of the double.
Jonathan Kirkegaard (Philadelphia, Penn.), a 2017 national team member, has teamed up with last year’s single sculler Kevin Meador (Berkeley, Calif.), while Wesley Vear (Louisville, Ky.) and Nathan Lado (New York, N.Y.) will try to further their international experience, as the two will compete at this year’s Pan American Games in the double.
Click here for more information on the 2019 Senior Trials II/Para NSR/Speed Order II.