Cold, rainy weather did not slow the Rockford High School crew teams as they rowed into history last weekend at the Michigan Scholastic Rowing Championship Regatta held at Grand Rapids’ Riverside Park on Saturday, May 28. For the first time, both the women’s and men’s teams were crowned state champions in their individual divisions and the Rams were named the combined champions of the day. A total of 18 teams from across Michigan competed in the state event.
“This has taken a lot of hard work and dedication,” according to Rams Head Coach Tim Jacobs. “Even though we were three weeks behind in our time on the water [due to weather conditions], we made that up the last two weeks. It’s a great feeling knowing you are the number one team in the state of Michigan. This is the first time we’ve done this and it’s great.”
The men’s team racked up 28.5 points to beat team rival St. Mary’s Orchard Lake, who posted 24 points. The Lady Rams posted 31 points and Ann Arbor Pioneer finished second with a total of 24 points for the day. In combined scores, the Rams pulled ahead of Ann Arbor Pioneer by an impressive 28 points.
Rockford showed their strength early in the day by qualifying boats in all but one heat race for the afternoon finals. Overall, the Rams competed in 14 out of the 18 final races for the day.
Leading the way in gold medals was the women’s lightweight four-plus boat with Stephanie Sawicki, Tessa Powers, Zoe Zeerip, Chloe McColgan and coxswain Gabby LeClaire. They were later joined by Jennifer Vlas, Courtney Brummeler, Sammy Erickson and Emily Prus to earn gold in the women’s lightweight eight-plus event. Lady Rams Lynsey Felty, Andrea Galloway, Jessica Wheeler, Amy Fedeson and coxswain Bri Vander Berg also won gold in the junior varsity four-plus event.
The men’s team posted two first-place wins in the lightweight eight-plus and junior varsity eight-plus events. In the lightweight eight-plus boat were Isaac Blenman, Tyler Truxton, Dilan Itter, Sean Ebel, Tyler Maple, Kevin Clinthorne, Mitchell Hendershott, Marcus Powers and coxswain Sarah McLellan. Ram rowers Chad Slider, Maple, Hendershott, Corey Fase, Powers, Ebel, Clinthorne, Jacob Nemeth and coxswain Lauren Rohde were victorious in the junior varsity eight-plus race.
The teams also brought home a total of eight silver medals:
• men’s single—Tim Carlson
• women’s varsity two—Fedeson, Dana DeBusschere
• women’s varsity four-plus—Kate Fraser, Rebecca Markham, Kara Korson, Kendra Bilardello, coxswain Shelby Hodges
• men’s varsity four-plus—TJ Jacobs, Mitch Griffis, Bryce VanderBerg, Austin Burris, coxswain Logan Conner
• women’s varsity eight-plus—Felty, Prus, Galloway, Fraser, Wheeler, Markham, Korson, Bilardello, coxswain Hodges
• men’s varsity eight-plus—Tristan VanFossen, Chris Gaigalas, Fase, Griffis, Jacobs, Burris, VanderBerg, Sam Berndt, coxswain Conner
• men’s lightweight four-plus—Itter, Blenman, VanFossen, Berndt, coxswain McLellan
• women’s junior varsity eight-plus—Emma Korson, Jessica Levin, Allyson Andrews, Lauren Pratt, Lindsey Marvin, Aleah Dew, Christina Pavano, DeBusschere, coxswain VanderBerg.
The team now heads for international competition at the Canadian Secondary Schools Rowing Association (CSSRA) 2011 Championships Regatta in St. Catharines, Ontario, where 128 teams from the USA and Canada will be competing in a 36-event race. Rockford will be competing in 17 races over the three-day event, which begins on Friday, June 3 and runs through Sunday, June 5.