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Men's 3V Leads Solid Showing for Yorktown at Ted Phoenix
The Yorktown freshman, novice and lower varsity crews traveled to the Occoquan on May 1 for the traditional Ted Phoenix Lower Boat Championship regatta. Conditions were superb for racing, mild to warm temperatures and little wind.
Opening the early racing for Yorktown was the men's freshman 8, which qualified third in its heat and advanced to the finals.
Next up was the YHS women's freshman 8. Unfortunately, confusion about start time resulted in this crew not making it to the starting line in time and not racing in its assigned heat. Thankfully, the regatta stewards allowed the YHS crew to re-enter the regatta line-up as a novice 8 and the 9th grade women did qualify for that final as YHS "B" with a second place finish in their novice women's 8 heat. The 8th grade crew, racing as the Yorktown A boat, also qualified for the novice 8 final by finishing 2nd in their heat.
The Yorktown men's novice 8 and women's novice 4 did not advance out of the heats.
After a short break the mid-morning finals began.
First up for Yorktown was the men's third 8. This crew, coxed by sophomore Steve Randle and comprised of five seniors and three sophomores, had clocked three solid races prior to the Ted Phoenix. On April 10 they won the 3V event at the Darrell Winslow regatta at Sandy Run over a field of four crews. On April 17 at the Mercer Sprints they were edged out for a bronze medal in a tough race in high winds by a crew from Robinson. Leading the pack in that race were crews from Nutley High School and the Mercer Junior Rowing Club. On April 24, at the Charlie Butt regatta, the YHS 3V took on a very tough crew from Gonzaga and finished second, but open water up on VASRA rival W-L.
The crew came into the May 1 state championship regatta seeded #1 over good crews from Robinson and TJ. The highly motivated crew from Yorktown blasted off the starting platform with a blistering first 20 that put them almost a length up on the field of three other crews. Stroke man and sophomore Adrian Blust pushed the crew down the course at 34+ strokes per minute and left all but the crew from Washington-Lee lengths of open water back. Coming into the last 250 meters W-L made its final move, but it was not enough and the Patriot 3V crossed the finish line 5.9 seconds up on the Generals.
It was a great moment for all five seniors and it was the first time YHS had claimed the 3V title since 1994.
The next event for YHS was the final of the men's freshman 8. In a spectacular finish, a tough and talented crew from TC Williams edged out #1 ranked St. Albans for the title, TJ was third, followed by Robinson, McLean and Yorktown in a tight pack. YHS medaled for the first time ever in the freshman 8 event last year, did not even field a freshman 8 in 2008 and was 5th in 2007. The freshman of 2007 are this year's seniors and members of this class have medaled at the varsity level every year at States since 2007. Also, members of last year's silver medal winning freshman 8 are stroking all three varsity 8s this season. All this testifies to the progress our athletes are able to make once they learn how to row and stay in our program. Coach Nate Uhlenbrock and this year's freshman/novice men's team have fielded two full eights all season, a huge step up from 2007 and 2008 when we struggled to maintain even one competitive 8. They have laid the ground work for another large class to progress to the varsity level and will join the "huge" (for YHS standards) class of 2014, which expects to count 14 returning rowers and three coxswains for next season. Numbers matter and as the 3V showed this year, if we have enough people in the varsity ranks we can be competitive with any men's program in VASRA.
In the "novice day" battle also known as the novice women's 8 grand final, two YHS crews lined up against each other and a field of 5 other crews from Madison, West Springfield, Thomas Jefferson, Lake Braddock and Georgetown Visitation. In a photo finish, Madison edged out West Springfield by half a second, with the YHS novice crew third and the YHS freshman crew 4th. With numerous open water wins along the way, our freshman/novice women's program has improved tremendously this year under the direction of coaches Nicole Dinion and Ken Shuster. With the best group of athletes we've had in many years and tons of depth across two classes, the YHS women's rowing program is also set to continue its winning ways started so strongly last season with a win in the 3v and a silver in the 1V.
See http://www.borissuvakphotography.com/p268308474 for photos from the 2010 Ted Phoenix regatta.