Three U.S. Crews Advance on Thursday at 2019 World Rowing Junior Championships

Three U.S. crews advanced on Thursday at the 2019 World Rowing Junior Championships in Tokyo, Japan. The men’s four qualified directly for the final, while the women’s double sculls and women’s quadruple sculls advanced to the semifinals on day two of the championships.

The men’s four of Erik Spinka​ (Southport, Conn.), ​Alexander DeGrado​ (Jacksonville, Fla.), Owen Corr ​(Sarasota, Fla.) and Zachary Vachal​ (San Francisco, Calif.) advanced to Sunday’s final thanks to a second-place finish in the second of two heats. The crew led through the 1,500-meter mark before Greece passed the American boat in the final 300 meters. Greece won the race in a 6:05.54, with the U.S. finishing in a 6:07.11. Great Britain finished third.

“Coming back to worlds from being in the Czech Republic last year, it’s definitely been a different experience,” Vachal said. “The constant is really just seeing everyone here with the goal of reaching higher than they’ve ever done before in this sport. It’s really just electrifying. It’s a higher level of racing than I’ve ever been (in), and it’s a feeling I really can’t find anywhere else.”

In the women’s double sculls, Taylor English (La Claire, Ill./Y Quad Cities Rowing) and Delaney Evans (Bettendorf, Iowa/Y Quad Cities Rowing) qualified for the semifinals in a tight finish. With two to advance, the U.S. crew sat in third position going into the final 500 meters, but the Americans were able to chase down Australia for the final qualification spot, missing a victory by a bow ball. Russia won the race in a 7:09.19, with the U.S. crossing just 0.05 seconds behind in a 7:09.24. Australia finished a half second back in a 7:09.78.

“After yesterday’s race, we came away with a result that we weren’t really happy with,” Evans said. “Today, we knew we wanted to make it through to the semis, and we knew what we had to do. We picked out some technical things to work on, some steering things, and we adjusted for the wind conditions. We went out there with a goal to make it through today.”

The women’s quadruple sculls crew of Hailey Mead (Orinda, Calif./Redwood Scullers), Graciella Leon (West Palm Beach, Fla./Miami International RowHouse), Brenna Morley (Bettendorf, Iowa/Y Quad Cities) and Audrey Lyda (Pittsburgh, Pa./Three Rivers Rowing Association) reached the semifinals thanks to a third-place finish in the repechage. With three to advance, the U.S. boat moved into a qualification spot during the second quarter of the race and kept Japan at a comfortable margin the rest of the way down the course. France won the race in a 6:39.55, with Romania finishing second. The U.S. finished with a time of 6:45.76.

“We’ve done a few races before and we’ve had different strategies, so we tried out a new strategy today,” Mead said. “We took risks, and it kind of paid off.”

“For the semifinal, we definitely want to polish what we did today and build off of our sprint,” Lyda said.

In the women’s four with coxswain, the U.S. crew of coxswain ​Carina Baxter​ (El Dorado Hills, Calif.), Lindsey Rust​ (Roslyn, N.Y.), ​Morgan Linsley​ (Princeton, N.J.), ​Alena Criss​ (Baldwinsville, N.Y.) and Aidan Wrenn-Walz​ (Arlington, Va.) finished second in its heat and will now race in the repechages on Friday. With only one to advance, Italy used a strong start to take more than a two-second advantage just 500 meters into the race. The Italians continued to build their lead over the second 500 meters to nearly a length of open water, with the other three crews crossing the midway point virtually even. The U.S. made a push into second position during the third quarter of the race. Italy finished with a time of 7:00.35, with the U.S. coming home in a 7:05.43.

The U.S. men’s eight of coxswain ​Audrey Gates​ (Orinda, Calif.), ​Harrison Schofield​ (Sarasota, Fla.), Greg Le Meur​ (San Francisco, Calif.), ​John Mark Ozaeta​ (Moraga, Calif.), ​Ian Burnett​ (Arlington, Mass.), James Patton ​(Houston, Texas), ​Travis Keating​ (Placerville, Calif.), ​Savas Koutsouras​ (Culver, Ind.) and Jacob Hudgins (Andover, Mass) finished second in its heat and will now race in a repechage on Friday. Germany and the U.S. got off the line ahead of Poland before the German crew began to pull away in the second 500 meters. Germany continued to increase its margin over the back half of the race, finishing in a 5:39.62. The U.S. clocked a 5:46.63.

The U.S. women’s four of ​Julia Abbruzzese​ (Ridgefield, Conn.), ​Julia Braz (Sarasota, Fla.)​, Isabella Batistoni​ (Issaquah, Wash.) and ​Katherine Kelly​ (Vashon Island, Wash.) finished third in its heat and will race in tomorrow’s repechages. With two to advance, Germany led through the 1,000-meter mark before China took the lead in the third quarter of the race. China won in a time of 6:41.10, with Germany just over a second behind. The U.S. finished in a 7:00.46.

The U.S. women’s pair of Heidi Jacobson​ (Greenwich, Conn.) and Kylie Oakes​ (Vero Beach, Fla.) finished fourth in its heat and will head to Friday’s repechages. With only one to advance, the Czech Republic, China and Australia took the early lead before the Czech and Chinese boats began to pull away from the rest of the field in the second quarter of the race. Over the final 1,000 meters, the Czech Republic walked away from China, finishing with a time of 7:19.28. China placed second in a 7:23.68. The U.S. finished fourth with a time of 7:46.13.

The crew of coxswain Elizabeth Romero​ (Pleasant Hill, Calif.), ​Michael Fairley​ (Saratoga Springs, N.Y.), Chase Haskell​ (Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.), Pablo Matan​ (San Jose, Calif.) and Jackson Stone (West Newton, Mass.) finished fifth in its heat of the men’s four with coxswain and will race in Friday’s repechages. With two to advance to the final, China and Ireland were able to hold off South Africa at the line to earn the automatic qualifying berths. The three crews finished within a canvas of each other, with China crossing in a 6:18.13 and Ireland in a 6:18.29. South Africa finished third in a 6:18.87. The U.S. clocked a 6:28.07.

In the men’s quadruple sculls, the U.S. boat of Austin Lai (Oakland, Calif./Oakland Athletic Rowing Society), Malakai Leon (Sarasota, Fla./Sarasota Crew), August Altucher (Portland, Ore./Oregon Rowing Unlimited) and Theory Millar (Topanga, Calif./California Yacht Club) finished fourth in its repechage and now will race in the C final for places 13-16. With three to advance, the U.S. tried to chase down Switzerland over the second half of the race but came up just short. Great Britain won the race in a 5:57.50, followed by Chile and Switzerland. The U.S. finished in a 6:03.06, 0.66 seconds behind the Swiss boat.

In the men’s double sculls, Gil Dexter (Saratoga Springs, N.Y./Saratoga Rowing Association) and Peter Lawry (Alplaus, N.Y./ Saratoga Rowing Association) finished fourth in their repechage and will now race in tomorrow’s C/D semifinals. After a fast first 1,000 meters from Thailand, Zimbabwe took the lead just past the midway point. The Netherlands then rowed through Thailand in the final 500 meters to claim the other qualification spot. Zimbabwe finished with a time of 6:30.85. The U.S. crossed the line in a 6:42.72.

Racing continues on Saturday with semifinals and the start of placement finals. The medal races, along with the remaining B finals for places 7-12, will take place on Sunday.

More than 550 athletes from 50 countries are scheduled to race in Tokyo. This year’s U.S. roster includes 14 athletes returning from the 2018 team. Last year, the U.S. led the medal table with seven.

Complete press coverage, athlete bios and links to event information are available at USRowing’s 2019 World Rowing Junior Championships Coverage Page. Follow along with the U.S. Under 19 National Team as it prepares for the 2019 World Rowing Junior Championships by using the hashtags #WRJChamps and #WRJChamps19.

Live video streaming will be available on the World Rowing website. The video streaming will start 10 minutes before the start of racing each day and will cover all races from Wednesday, August 7, through Sunday, August 11. From Wednesday to Saturday, the last 1,000 meters will be streamed. On Sunday, the full 2,000 meters will be streamed.

For the most up-to-date schedule and results, click here.

USRowing would like to thank the following partners for their support of Team USA:

JL Racing — USRowing Official Outfitter and Apparel Supplier

Filippi — Official Boat Supplier of the U.S. Junior Men’s National Team

Vespoli — Official Boat Supplier of the U.S. Junior Women’s National Team

Concept2 — Official Oars of the U.S. Junior National Team

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