On October 22 and 23, 11 rowers with Rockford ties competed in Boston’s prestigious Head of the Charles Regatta. “Head” races are three miles long and boats are started sequentially 12 seconds apart and race against the clock. Extremely demanding, the Head of the Charles course twists and turns with the river’s bends and includes seven narrow bridges. Boats are not separated in lanes, so the action often resembles a NASCAR race, including near collisions.
Rick Anderson, 2010 winner in the Veterans Singles category, again rowed to first place, leading 51 racers down the course. Anderson has a long history of rowing competitively. He was a founding officer of the Grand Rapids Rowing Club and in 1996 started the Rockford High School crew team, serving as head coach for 13 years.
Five Rockford graduates competed at the race. Ross Anderson, representing Philadelphia’s elite Penn AC, was eighth in the Championship Single against a field of 32 that included world champion Mahe Drysdale from New Zealand. On scholarship at the University of Central Florida, Chelsey Lauzon was part of the UCF Championship Eight, finishing 24th out of 37. In Notre Dame’s Club Four was another scholarship rower, Olivia Kacsits, and they placed 36th out of 45. Grand Valley State University’s men’s Club Four with junior Tucker Anderson and freshman Austin Burris did very well, placing 15th out of 50.
Three current Rockford rowing team members made the trip to Boston to gain experience. Bryce VanderBerg competed in the Club Singles, finishing 52nd out of 64. Tristan VanForsen and Kevin Clinthorne were 35th out of 40 in the Youth Doubles.
Former Russian professional rower Michael Raisky, now on Rockford’s masters’ squad with Rick Anderson, was sixth out of 37 in the Senior Masters Doubles event, and his wife Carol was fifth in a field of 19 Masters Doubles.