25th USRowing Youth National Championship Sees Returning Competitors
By Maeve Berry • June 5, 2019
Sarasota-Bradenton, Fla.–The top youth rowers in the nation will go head to head at the 25th annual USRowing Youth National Championships June 6-9 at Nathan Benderson Park. Of the 151 clubs competing at this year’s event, Cincinnati Junior Rowing Club, Inc. has qualified its men’s and women’s youth eight all 25 years the event has run.
“This year, it’s been a lot of fun being here,” said CJRC varsity boys coach Gregory Hull. “We’ve got 120-130 kids rowing every year and there are kids you think can do it, but can’t make it all the way with injuries or things like that who get left behind, which is kind of sad. To have as many kids as we do here this year is really, really fun.”
Hull has been coaching at the club since 1998. For the last 19 years, he has coached alongside varsity girls coach Andy Piepmeier, who joined CJRC in 2000.
“The kids have a great work ethic,” Piepmeier said. “They’re a lot of fun to be around and they seem to have a lot of fun with each other. Our goal is to just focus on ourselves, worry about ourselves and have the best races we can.”
Senior captains Scott Graumlich and Rye Walker are no strangers to youth nationals, as Graumlich was in CJRC’s 2017 lightweight men’s youth eight and the 2018 men’s youth eight, while Walker was in the lightweight men’s youth eight in 2018.
“I can feel the excitement everywhere. It feels pretty great to get racing and be with these other boats,” said Graumlich. “I’d say we’re much closer as a boat this year and I think all of CJRC’s boats can say the same.”
“We go out six days a week, so we’re always working together,” Walker said. “As the season progresses, we’re working harder together. We have a deep history and it’s important to carry that on.”
In partnership with Visit Sarasota County and the Suncoast Aquatic Nature Center Associates (SANCA), this premiere youth rowing event will feature racing in 18 different categories. More than 1,600 athletes will be in attendance, competing for 151 clubs and vying for a national champion title. RowAmerica Rye has the most entries, at 10, while Princeton National Rowing Association–Mercer follows with 9. This year, the men’s youth eight has the most entries at 27, followed by the women’s youth four and the men’s youth quad with 26.
To qualify for the USRowing Youth National Championships, crews had to secure bids through one of 12 qualification regattas including the USRowing Central Youth Championships, Philadelphia City Championships, USRowing Mid-Atlantic Youth Championships, Virginia Scholastic Rowing Championships, Midwest Scholastic Championships, Midwest Junior Rowing Championships, New York State Scholastic Championships, USRowing Northeast Youth Championships, NEIRA Championships, USRowing Northwest Youth Championships, USRowing Southeast Youth Championships and USRowing Southwest Youth Championships.
Beginning at 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday, student-athletes from the Class of 2019 will be honored in a brief graduation ceremony and will receive a USRowing Certificate of Excellence. World Champion Sara Simmons will serve as the keynote speaker. Simmons was a collegiate- and world-class athlete who competed on the world stage with the U.S. National Team. Gerry Anderson from Green Lake Crew will be the senior speaker for the class of 2019. The ceremony will take place at the graduation tent near the Nathan Benderson Park Finish Tower.
Racing is scheduled to kick off at 8:00 a.m. on Thursday, June 6 with time trials in all events. Repechages will run Friday morning, giving crews another chance to qualify for Saturday’s semifinals, while D finals will run Friday afternoon. Saturday’s racing consists of A/B semifinals in the morning and C finals in the afternoon. Sunday will see A finals in the morning followed by B finals in the afternoon.
An Olympic Day celebration will take place from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. on Sunday at which Olympians will be at the USRowing membership tent to sign autographs and take photos. Commemorating the birth of the modern Olympic Games on June 23, 1894, Olympic Day’s mission is to promote fitness, well being, culture and education, while celebrating the Olympic values of excellence, friendship and respect. From May 31-June 30, communities across the United States will celebrate Olympic Day 2019 through educational programming and other activities.
General admission tickets are available for purchase on a single- and four-day pass basis here.
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