Rockford rowing conquers state again


Rockford’s women’s lightweight 4+ rows to victory. Photo by LAURA FEATHERSTON

For the second consecutive year, Rockford rowers earned three coveted championship trophies in the Michigan Scholastic Rowing Championship at Riverside Park in Grand Rapids on Saturday, May 19. The final points told the story as the Rockford men commanded first place with 33 points over second-place Grosse Ile’s nine points; the Rockford women earned first place with 30 points, besting second-place Forest Hills Eastern’s six points; and, in the overall category, Rockford’s combined team point total of 63 points beat out Grosse Ile’s second-place (12-point) finish.

The morning’s preliminary races resulted in every Rockford boat qualifying for the afternoon finals, where they really poured on the heat to capture nine first-place victories, one second-place win, and one third-place win.

Coaches Jacobs, Vallier and Johnson receive the championship trophies. Photo by CHUCK GINEBAUGH

Rockford Superintendent Dr. Michael Shibler enjoyed viewing every one of those victories at the finish line, commenting, “Crew, as a sport, is outstanding; all the student athletes have an opportunity to participate and to learn the importance of team building.”

And what a team it is! First-place finishes were earned by the men’s varsity 8+ (K. Clinthorne, T. VanFossen, M. Hendershott, Bryce VanderBerg, A. Carley, C. Fase, I. Blenman, D. Itter, and coxswain L. Conner); men’s lightweight 8+ (Clinthorne, VanFossen, M. Powers, J. Nemeth, Blenman, Itter, T. Maple, S. Ginebaugh, and coxswain R. Featherston); men’s varsity 4+ (VanderBerg, Carley, Fase, Hendershott, and coxswain Conner); and men’s junior 8+ (Maple, A. Houn, J. Ullrey, E. Sawicki, J. Tarrants, R. Dickinson, K. Loux, M. Soloman, and coxswain J. Villarreal).

Varsity men’s Coach Tim Vallier reflected, “These guys have worked extremely hard to attain the outcomes we have achieved this year, and they have continued to amaze me. As a coach, their will and heart to push further with every practice and regatta is always something to be proud of.”

The women rowers showed their strength by earning first place in women’s varsity 8+ (K. Fraser, K. Bilardello, A. Andrews, A. Fedeson, K. Korson, A. Galloway, S. VanFossen, J. Levin, and coxswain R. DeKorne); women’s lightweight 8+ (E. Prus, T. Powers, S. Sawicki, M. Fix, M. Marvin, T. Todd, H. Twardy, S. Wasson, and coxswain Bri VanderBerg); women’s varsity 4+ (Bilardello, Korson, Fraser, Galloway, and coxswain DeKorne); women’s junior 8+ (Levin, A. Dew, E. Emerick, L. Pratt, VanFossen, M. Plekes, V. Kacsits, C. Wadlow, and coxswain S. Doletzky); and women’s lightweight 4+ (Prus, Powers, Sawicki, Marvin, and coxswain VanderBerg).

The women’s junior 4+ (Andrews, Dew, Emerick, Pratt, and coxswain Doletzky) took a second-place finish in their race to first-place Saline.

A bronze medal finish was turned in by the men’s lightweight 4+ (Powers, Nemeth, J. Dennis, Ginebaugh, and coxswain Featherston), who finished behind first-place Grosse Ile and second-place Orchard Lake.

Head Coach Timothy Jacobs summed up the day, “This team just keeps striving for excellence. They have been working extremely hard since January and results are showing that their hard work has paid off. Knowing that you are the best team in the state of Michigan is a great feeling, but we still have a few goals to accomplish out in New Jersey for the national championship regatta.”

More than 40 Rockford rowers will compete in the Scholastic Rowing Association of America National Championship in Camden County, N.J., with the qualifying races on May 25 and the finals on May 26. The finals will be streamed live on the Internet at

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