Yorktown Men Take Home Record Four Medals at States

The VASRA season ended May 14, with a wet, but fast and calm day at Sandy Run Park, and Yorktown crews challenging in all five events entered.  In the end, only the men made it to the medal dock, but the women's crews were again extremely close in several very competitive categories, with both women’s boats advancing to the finals.

Racing began early with the YHS women's 2V advancing by leading off with a second place finish in their heat to TC Williams, the eventual Stotesbury champion in this category.

Next up was the men’s junior 8. Racing in the second heat as the overall #2 seed, the Patriot crew won its heat in a time of 4:48, four seconds up on TJ, but a good bit slower than the two stacked boats from W-L and Madison, who finished 1-2 in the first heat with times of 4:35 and 4:41. Both of these crews essentially were their school's first varsity 8s.

The women's varsity 8 heats were next, with Yorktown the #4 seed in lane 4 of the third heat,  with #3 seed Robinson next to them in lane 3. It was a closed water battle the whole way, but Robinson edged out the YHS women for first with a time of 5:07 to the Patriot 8s 5:10. Both crews advanced to the grand final later in the day.

Last to race in the prelims was Yorktown's men's varsity 8, who were in the second heat as the #2 overall seed. In with the YHS men was an up-and-coming crew from Oakton. Yorktown trailed off the start, but took command at the half-way point and won easily in a time of 4:31 to Oakton's 4:38.

Following the lunch break, finals began, with a modest tail wind and flat water.

First up was the men's junior 8 final, with crews from St. Albans, TJ, W-L, Yorktown, Madison and Langley arrayed left to right across the course. The YHS crew blasted off the start into an early 2-3 seat lead, but within the first 500 the smooth rowing W-L crew had pushed by and taken command of first. The rest of the race was a dogfight for 2nd with Yorktown holding a slim lead over Madison coming into the last 250 meters. Madison had closed from almost a length down to within a seat or two of the Patriot 8, but in the last 10 strokes Yorktown stumbled for a couple of strokes and Madison slipped by to take the silver by 0.7 of a second in a photo finish. Essentially, based on the great time disparity from the heats, the YHS second eight, using an aggressive race plan and a strong start, had come within inches of beating a first boat for second place. W-L took home the trophy, winning by a length over both 2nd and 3rd. In the medal-winning boat for Yorktown were: Keating Walsh, Ben Tebor, Jason Haun, Bryce Pennie, Thomas Dahlquist, Jonathan Wabeke, Julio Henriquez, Josh Doyon and Steve Randle.

Next down the course were the women's second 8s, with Yorktown in lane 1, with Robinson, Madison, TC Williams, Thomas Jefferson, and Georgetown Visitation across the lanes to the right. Madison and TC Williams dominated this race from the start with Madison powering to a full length margin on second-place TC.  Madison's winning time of 5:06 was four seconds up on TC and six ahead of third-place TJ. The YHS women powered home in 5th. The women’s 2V crew included: Colleen Sullivan, Chloe Osborne, Mari Thomas, Galit Little, Jennifer Frey, Millie Smith, Katie Linek, Emily Hill, and Jane Roberts.

The women's varsity 8 grand final lined up as the finest women's field in many years with National Cathedral in Lane 1 with Robinson, Madison, TJ, Yorktown and TC Williams across the course. Madison, the #1 seed in lane 3 was the class of the field and showed great power pushing out to a full length win over TC Williams, who came in second from lane 6, followed by TJ in lane 4. Madison's big 8 broke the 5 minute barrier, clocking 4:54 to TC's 4:58 and TJ's 4:59. Yorktown's lighter and less experienced 8 held on after a hot start as long as they could but the bigger crews chewed through over the last 600 meters, leaving the YHS women just short of the medals in 5:02. The 2011 first 8 crew was: Amelia Ward, Hannah Yoest, Tabby Andelin, Annemarie Wamsted, Shannon Johnston, Eleanor Love, Madeline Stanke, Claire Stump, and Olivia August.

The last race of the day was the men's varsity 8 grand final. St Albans, the #1 seed and undefeated and largely untouched in VASRA in 2011, was in lane 3. YHS, the #2 seed, started in lane 4, with Westfield, the third heat winner, in lane 2, and TJ in 5. Oakton was in 1 and first-time finalist Forest Park was in 6. The top five crews all went off the line together, although Oakton soon began to slip back, while St. Albans began to edge up. At the half-way mark, it was St. Albans by 6-7 seats over Westfield, with YHS battling TJ for third. Coming into the final 250 meters, YHS was closing rapidly on Westfield, while edging ahead of TJ. At the line it was a photo finish for 2nd with St. Albans a length up. When the photos ran, it was Westfield by a bowball, 0.3 seconds ahead of Yorktown for second place. The YHS men needed just 2-3 more strokes, but ran out of course. The men's 1V was: Aaron Rosen, Andrew Knizner, Ben Vihstadt, Daniel Thom, Fielding Williams, Adrian Blust, Jaime Ranfone, Erik Auer, and JP Wright.

Still, the result was a 5th trip to the awards dock for the YHS men's 1V in as many years, Yorktown's longest such streak in team history. YHS is also the only school to earn a medal every year in the men's 1V since 2007. (TJ’s streak was broken with their 4th place finish this year.) The YHS men’s four-medal week—the 1v bronze plus the J8 bronze, 3V gold and freshmen 8 silver—also was a first for the team. In addition, the 2011 championships marked the first year that both the male and female freshmen 8s had medaled in the same year, and were the first time that every Yorktown varsity 8, male and female, advanced to finals.

 "Broad team achievement is what we are all about," coach Andy Bacas commented, "when every varsity athlete in our program knows they have a chance to medal during their state championship, we have reached a level of athletic competency any coaching staff would be proud of. I know Carol and I
are very happy with what the kids achieved this year."