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Choppy Results at Windy Mercer Sprints
On a cold and windy day, 98 YHS athletes braved the choppy waters of Lake Mercer in New Jersey to test their fitness and skill versus some of the top high school, prep school, and club crews in both the Mid-Atlantic and the Midwest.
Leading off for Yorktown was the women's 1V in a very tough heat stacked with a composite crew of junior national teamers, rowing as Southern Connecticut RC, as well as fine crews from Merion Mercy
Academy of Pennsylvania and our own VASRA competitors, Robinson High School. The women fell just short of qualifying for finals, crossing the line 2 seconds behind Robinson.
Next up was the men's first varsity 8. After watching crews from the Lawrenceville School of New Jersey and the Salisbury School of Connecticut, both 100+-year-old boarding schools that run year-round
rowing programs, finish 1-2 in the first heat, the Patriot men qualified in second place in the second heat behind the host crew, Mercer Junior Rowing Club, another all-year program based on Lake Mercer. Robinson was the third qualifier, 10 seconds back of YHS.
The next period of racing was a series of fours events. Most of the YHS crews entered here had rarely if ever rowed together in fours, but braved the choppy water for the experience of racing the course and
to get ready for their eights events later in the day.
Here is the summary of events and results:
- Women's 2nd 4s: YHS placed fourth in the first flight, behind fine crews from the Hun School of New Jersey and Mount St. Joseph Academy of Pennsylvania, but medaled in the third flight finishing a strong second to a National Team crew from Connecticut.
- Women's 3rd 4s: YHS struggled through in 6th in a tougher than expected field.
- Men's 2nd 4s: YHS's top entry in this event was involved in a collision with another crew off the start and gave up more than 10 seconds on the rest of the field, but rowed back into the race and finished fourth. YHS's B entry hammered through the rough water to a 6th place finish in a tough flight won by Kearny High School of New Jersey.
- Men's 3rd 4s: YHS medaled here, finishing third, half a second out of second, behind Upper Arlington HS of Columbus, OH, and the Hun School of NJ.
- Men's & women's lightweight 4s: Both of our entries here were in a super tough category up against several teams of top rowers and finished well back from the leaders.
None of our strong novice crews were able to row as race officials deemed the course too dangerous for their events due to wind conditions.
The winds did not die down for the afternoon racing, but the show went on for the varsity 8s anyway.
In the women's 3V eights, the two YHS entries were well back of the top crew, again from Mount Saint Joseph's. The previously unbeaten men's 3V rowed a tough race and sprinted through the crew ahead of them in the last five strokes to finish fourth, two seconds out of the medals behind, Nutley, Mercer and Robinson. Congratulations to Robinson for rowing a solid race in tough conditions.
In the women's 2nd 8, the Patriot women got solidly on the board with a strong bronze medal performance, trailing a crew from Mount St Joes in first, but 20 seconds up on a local crew from Walt Whitman HS in Maryland.
In the men's 2nd 8, the Patriots were in the middle of a tough fight with crews from Upper Arlington, Salisbury and Robinson for the three medal positions when, with about 500 meters to go, they struck the remnants of an oar from some previous collision that happened to float into their lane. The impact sheared off their skeg and rudder and the boat veered out of control, across two lanes and off the course. The coxswain eventually got the boat under control via differential rowing by the oarsmen and the crew did eventually limp across the line.
In the final race of the day for Yorktown, the men's 1V rowed a courageous race out in the wind in lane 5 and fought it out for 2000 meters with Salisbury, Lawrenceville, and Mercer. Salisbury in lane 2 sprinted from the pack in the last 250 to win, followed in close succession by Mercer, Lawrenceville and Yorktown, all four crews overlapped with each other at the finish. The rest of the pack was more than 18 seconds back. YHS for the second year in a row missed a medal by one second.