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National Top Ten--1V Women Make It Two Straight
The YHS freshman women set the tone for the whole team at the scholastic national championships in Camden over Memorial Day weekend, racing beautifully in their heat and moving on to the semifinal round by virtue of their strong 2nd place finish (three from each heat advanced to semis). Later that morning, the women’s first varsity eight upped the ante, finishing a fast second in their heat and moving directly through to the semifinal round (the 3rd and 4th place finishers had to race again in the repechage round). The women’s 2nd eight was not able to follow suit, however, finishing out of the running in a tough heat that included an unseeded Robinson crew that ended up advancing to finals. Still, they had a terrific final race!
On Saturday, the freshman women knew they were going to have to beat a crew they were not “supposed” to beat...and they almost did. In a highly competitive race, the eight finished 5th in their semi, but they were overlapping with two other boats fighting for that last spot in the final—a great race and an experience they will not soon forget. The freshman women finished 9th overall.
The women’s 1V was up next, with the two fastest boats in their semifinal (those two crews ended up going 1 and 2 in the grand final). The 1V’s goal was to stay ahead of TJ (which had taken the YHS women by a few seconds each race)...and the plan worked to perfection. The first varsity finished three seconds ahead of TJ and was 'connected' to the front two boats—an amazing race. The women’s 3rd place finish put them into the petite final for the second year in a row.
In the petite final, Winter Park, the bronze medalists at Stotesbury, clearly raced with a chip on their oars, angry that they had been knocked out of the grand final by TC Williams in one of the other semis. Their determination gave Winter Park an edge, and they claimed the victory, leaving Thomas Jefferson and Yorktown once again to battle down the course for second and third with Holy Spirit and Absegami hot on their tails. The finish of the petite final had all 5 boats overlapping - this is what racing is all about! Rowing really is about inches. The Yorktown women had a great race and finished 3rd in the petite final, which placed them 9th overall and in the top 10 nationally for the second year in a row. Their time was also 2 seconds ahead of the result posted by TC William's boat in the grand final. More results can be found at http://www.sraa.net/
The Yorktown men's freshman eight arrived at the Cooper River in Camden, NJ, focused and knowing they had a challenging qualifying heat ahead of them. The crew rigged their boat and launched to get in a last practice session—rowing the course a first time to familiarize themselves and then rowing it a second time to walk through their race plan, rowing the start, middle, and sprint at full pressure and the rest of the piece hard but below race pace. The crew returned to the dock after their practice session pleased and looking forward to racing the next morning.
Before their Friday heat, Coach Steve Cauffman affixed a pink bowball to the '98, fulfilling a request made by the men after their silver medal performance at the Ted Phoenix Lower Boat Championships in Virginia the week before. In their pre-race meeting, Coach Cauffman assessed the competition: LaSalle had finished 3rd at Stotesbury; Manhasset and Bonner had both been faster in time trials at Stotesbury; Upper Arlington in Lane 5 was a relative unknown. Only two crews would advance to the semifinals later that afternoon, so the team knew they would need to start fast and row the race of their young careers to stay with the field and possibly advance. The team finalized its race plan and prepared to launch.
Winds were light and the water smooth for their race, with Yorktown in lane 1, Manhasset in 2, LaSalle in 3, Bonner in 4, and Upper Arlington in 5. At the start, LaSalle took a small lead with the rest of the field only a couple of seats back. Following their race plan, Yorktown took an extra 10 high strokes at the start to try to make an early move on the field. The move kept the crew close to LaSalle and the rest of the field, but did not gain the seats hoped. By the midway point, LaSalle had begun to build on its lead, with Manhasset and Upper Arlington staying close, and Yorktown and Bonner trailing slightly. As the crews crossed the 1,200 meter mark, the stronger crews pulled away while Yorktown’s freshmen eight began to fade. At the finish, it was LaSalle, Manhasset, Upper Arlington, with Yorktown finishing last. The young men of Yorktown had rowed a valiant race, but come up short against stronger crews. Their racing done for the weekend, the crew still was pleased with the way they rowed and already were beginning to plan their future return to racing at this level.