News & Noteworthy

Yorktown’s Pivotal Class of 1978

The Class of ‘78 was vital in the development of the still-young Yorktown crew program. The 20 rowers that shoved off the docks of Thompson Boat Center for the first time in the spring of 1976 more than doubled the size of the team—which had only just been recognized as a varsity sport—enabling Yorktown to compete on a more equal basis with the region’s long-running powers, including Washington & Lee, T.C. Williams, Fort Hunt and J.E.B. Stuart.
Members of the ’78 class included:

  • Monica Aranguren
  • Becky Booth
  • George Brandt
  • Mary Bridges
  • John Burton
  • Bill Corish
  • Lynne Dietz
  • Al Fletcher
  • Steve Hagan
  • Betty Jean Hugo
  • Ellen Lahr
  • Dave Long
  • Ann McQueston
  • Claire Paduda
  • Dave Ritter
  • Steve Sawyer
  • Lyman Smith
  • Debbie Thorsen
  • Beckie Urban
  • Vince Yotsukura
  1977 YHS Women's Crew Team
1977 YHS Men's Crew Team

Their team pictures are included, note the hair on the boys and the absence of spandex, my how things have changed.

Although most of the memories have faded, here are a few bits of fact and trivia regarding this class:

  • Lyman Smith, Dave Ritter, Steve Hagan, Albert Fletcher, Steve Sawyer, and John Burton were members of the men’s varsity eight that won the first race in Yorktown crew history! Check out the 1977 Arlington Gazette article (and pictures) here.
  • Lyman Smith was the first Yorktown rower to join the team while still in middle school. His brother Raub (‘75) rowed for YHS as well.
  • Claire Paduda was the third member of the legendary Paduda family to row for Yorktown/ Brothers Dave (‘75) and Joe (‘76) had rowed for YHS before her.  Joe went on to write the book, The Art of Sculling, which is still available on Amazon.
  • Dave Ritter and his brother Rick (77) were Yorktown’s modern-day version of the “Biglin Brothers”!
  • Beckie Urban and Betty Jean Hugo were responsible for designing Yorktown’s racing jersey, which was first worn in the 1977 season. This jersey design was worn well into the 1980s. Beckie was the second of three Urban sisters to row for Yorktown, along with Michelle (‘76) and Kim (‘80).
  • Ann McQueston is one of three members of the McQueston family, along with brothers John (’76) and James (’79) to row for Yorktown.
  • Vince Yotsukura is a second-generation rower; his father rowed in Japan while in college.

Yorktown Crew welcomes you all home! The SpiritChallenge, and Patriot have long gone to wherever old Pococks go to die, but the rowers who rowed in them can always come home--just be careful with the new equipment.


Class of ’78 Reunion Row

Members of the class of 1978 reunited on a beautiful  October day at Thompson Boat Center to renew some distant memories and recapture a bit of their youth.

The “Senior Eight” consisted of coxswain Ann McQueston, stroke Steve Hagan, Al Fletcher, Bill Corish, Dave Long, Becky Booth, Vince Yotsukura, Judy Plavnick (from the esteemed Class of ‘77), and Ellen Lahr. Also in attendance were Steve Sawyer, Beckie Urban, Mark Krieger (‘77), and Victoria Krieger (’10), representing the current era.

The eight shoved off without incident, while the remainder of the group piled into a launch with Coach Carol Dinion. It soon became apparent that some the attendees had been away for too long from the home of their youth when Rebecca Anscomb (the former Beckie Urban) pointed to the 20+-year-old Washington Harbor complex and asked, “What’s that?”

As the eight headed upstream, Coach Dinion started them on a series of impressive drills involving two, four, and six rowers at time.  As she explained in the launch, this was to help the rowers ease back into the sport and relearn some skills that for some had not been practiced in 30 years. Impressively, Ann’s coxswaining skills had not diminished a bit as she successfully navigated bridge abutments, hoards of canoeists and large pleasure boats without incident! She managed all of this while providing amusement to modern-day rowers by sporting her old-style megaphone.

After the crew made the turn just shy of Fletcher’s Cove, Coach Dinion worked with them on their timing with less-than-impressive results due to some attention issues within the boat. Also hindering the process was stroke Steve Hagan’s insistence that they attempt a 1500-meter piece, beginning with a racing start. Sanity prevailed, however, and the eight headed down the river on an extended drill that climaxed with all eight rowers rowing for a magical 20 strokes or so.

Ann brought the eight in for a perfect landing, and the crew disembarked as gracefully as they did 30 years ago, well, almost. The center of gravity has changed for a few of us. The bow pair of Judy and Ellen were considerably wetter, thanks to Three Seat Vince “Back Splash” Yotsukura!

For pictures of the reunion row, click here.

[Our thanks to Mark Krieger, YHS class of ’77, for the wonderful write-ups]

--For other alums wishing to share a story or an important event in Yorktown crew history, please use our contact form to send us a message.

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