YHS Rowers Earn Record Four Medals at Ted Phoenix Regatta

On another great weather day for racing, eight YHS crews competed in the 2012 VASRA Lower Boat Championship Regatta on May 5 and a record-setting four crews made it to the awards dock—a "never been done before" event for Yorktown rowing.

Women’s 3V eight with Coach Johnson
Women’s 3V Coach Johnson

The women's 3V (left) had without a doubt the strongest medal-winning performance, outclassing their five opponents and winning by open water with a margin of 4.7 seconds. This was the women's first 3V gold medal since 2009. Congratulations to coaches Nick Johnson and Carol Dinion and all the hard-charging, smooth-rowing gals of the 2012 3V!



Women’s novice eight with Coach Young
Men’s 3V eight with Coaches Bacas and Tron

The men's 3V (right) continued Yorktown’s recent dominance of this event, winning a third straight gold medal for the school. Facing a stiff closing sprint by a determined Westfield crew, the Patriot men hung on to win by 4.2 seconds, another open water victory.  

The freshman eight competitions for boys and girls are always the premier events at the lower boat championship and the competition was particularly keen this year.

The YHS freshman women, seeded 2nd coming into the competition, drew a fast heat with crews from Thomas Jefferson, McLean and Lake Braddock. The crews were neck and neck for 1,000 meters with T.J. beginning to pull away in the last 500, with McLean and Yorktown locked in a "to-the-wire struggle" for second and the last spot to advance to the finals. The McLean gals put on a furious sprint in the last 150 meters and managed to push their bow just slightly ahead of the Patriot 8, edging across the finish 0.82 seconds ahead of the Yorktown boat. Sadly, the medal hopes of the freshman women were dashed by just one seat.

The men’s freshman eight, also seeded second coming into the regatta, won its heat to advance to the final and another showdown with the talented crews from W-L, St. Albans and T.C. Williams. The race was close for about 750 meters, but then the powerful W-L crew began to pull away, opening a substantial lead on the field on its way to the gold medal. Their surge left Yorktown, St. Albans and T.C. Williams to battle it out for the final two medal spots. In a furious finish by all three crews it was Yorktown that pushed its bow slightly ahead, taking the silver, 0.74 seconds up on St. Albans, with T.C. following in 4th just 0.30 seconds behind STA. Wow.  

The freshman 8, coached by Steve Cauffman, made it to the medal dock for a second straight year, having taken silver in 2011 as well.  The freshman men also took silver in 2009 under Coach Nate Uhlenbrock.

This was the first time in four years that a VASRA opponent had beaten the STA freshmen even up.  STA missed the start for the Ted Phoenix race last year and T.C. Williams won it, but STA was the better crew.  W-L's big win in the boys freshman 8 and Yorktown’s second place finish is very good news for Arlington rowing and promises several exciting years of varsity competition between YHS and W-L, whose freshmen are coached by Wilson DeSousa, a former YHS assistant.  Congratulations to Wilson and W-L freshman 8. Let’s hope the 9th grade Arlington boys from both schools will make their presence known in a big way at Stotes May 18-19.

The freshman eight leaving the medal dock
The freshman eight leaving the medal dock

The women’s novice 8 also advanced to the finals, beating Madison and T.C. Williams in the morning heat. In the afternoon final, a hard-rowing crew from Gloucester High School near Williamsburg pushed away from the field and won the gold medal by a big eight-second margin. The Yorktown gals held their own against the rest of the field, finishing second to pull in a hard-earned silver medal. This was Coach Heather Young's second medal-winning crew, having coached the freshman women to a silver medal in 2011.


Women’s novice eight with Coach Young
Women’s novice eight with Coach Young

The boys novice 8 came within two seats of winning its heat, finishing just back of a solid crew from Gloucester.  In the finals, however, a bad crab cost the Patriots a shot at a medal and they finished 5th.

The girls 4th eight finished second in a three-boat final. According to VASRA rules this does not qualify for a medal, but the crew did a fine job and should count in the Patriot "top finisher count."

The boys 4V could not hang with a solid field of crews from Robinson, Westfield and Oakton and finished a distant 4th

"It was another great day for our program," commented Andy Bacas, YHS program director. "I can't tell you how proud I am of how our kids performed, both on and off the water. They brought great credit to themselves, their families and our school."

The YHS 1Vand 2V crews will race next in the Virginia State Championship Regatta on May 12.