On Thursday, May 21, four Rockford crew women’s boats embarked on a journey that would prove to be a very successful weekend at the 75th Scholastic National Regatta in Princeton, New Jersey. The best crew teams gathered to compete against the best of the best at Mercer Lake to find out who is top in the nation. The four Rockford women’s boats that made the long trip included a freshman eight, junior four, lightweight eight and a varsity four, all qualifying at the Midwest Scholastic Rowing Championship in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Rockford girls crew team took first place overall at the championship in Ohio, making Rockford the best girls crew team over the entire Midwest. The championship gave Rockford the title of being the best of nearly 50 of the best teams from across the entire Midwest and Canada.
The Scholastic National Regatta ran 183 events over the course of Friday and Saturday, May 22-23. The events encompass over 330 entries from teams as far south as Miami, Florida and as far north as Maine and several Midwest states.
The national junior four boat contained coxswain Danielle Frick and rowers Megan Korson, Maddie Anderson, Camille Pulver, and Rebecca Markham. The boat easily transferred to the semifinals. The Saturday semifinals ended impressively, ranking them in the top 12 in the nation.
The national varsity four also had an impressive run over the two days. The boat consisted of coxswain Jenny DeNike and rowers Olivia Kacsits, Christine Kasper, Darcy Peck, Michelle Kuhn and alternate Alicia Dickinson. The varsity four advanced through the preliminary rounds to set them up in the semifinals with a third-place finish. The girls then went on to finish first in the petite finals. This grand finish landed them a seventh-place finish overall.
The national varsity lightweight eight boat housed coxswain Danielle Teft and rowers Raechel Wrona, Claire Harding, Shelby Jacobs, Christiana Scofield, Molly Guthrie, Richelle Huizenga, Jane Vandervelde, Katina Goad, and alternate Chloe McColgan. The eight worked their way through their heats to the finals. In the final heat, the girls pulled out an amazing fifth-place finish against some of the fastest boats from across the country in their division.
The freshman crew with coxswain Rebecca DeKorne and rowers Emily Prus, Jessica Wheeler, Kendra Bilardello, Katelyn Fraser, Kendall McConnohie, Kara Korson, Kaitlin Fugate and Andrea Galloway had no idea where their undefeated record would take them as they went into competition on Friday at nationals. Blowing out all the competition along the way, the freshman crew easily transferred to the finals. Even though the freshman boat earned the fastest qualifying time, it was no secret that the final was loaded with crews that would definitely give the Rockford freshman crew stiff competition.
With 250 meters in the final race, the crew was down by a boat length to the very tough Radnor High School crew out of Radnor, Penn. Giving every ounce of energy, heart and soul, the freshman girls were able to shoot out ahead by seven-tenths of a second to capture a first-place finish and earn the outstanding title of “national champion.”
The girls’ head coach, Tim Jacobs, was assisted at nationals by Mike Anatuma and Bridgette Mast, both assistant coaches for the girls team.
The Rockford crew teams brought home an impressive 12th-place finish as well as three top ten finishes, a seventh, fifth and a national championship title.