By Mary Clinthorne
Rockford Crew’s first real test of the rowing season came on Saturday at the St. Mary’s Crew Classic in Orchard Lake Village, where they competed well against 16 other schools from Michigan, Ohio, and Indiana. The sunshine and warm temperatures made for good rowing on the Orchard Lake course. The race for the top two places was tight in both the men’s and women’s competitions. Rockford’s women took first place (for the fourth year in a row), earning 138 team points, besting second place Ann Arbor Huron by 8 points. The Rockford men came in second place behind Orchard Lake St. Mary’s 113 team points, missing the win by only 7 points.
On the Rockford women’s side first place finishes were earned by the Novice 8+ (L. Dunham, B. Dady, L. Korson, A. Erickson, K. Brower, S. Benham, K. LaBadie, O. Bigelow, and N. Jones – coxswain); the Lightweight 4+ (S. Wasson, M. Fix, M. Marvin, E. Emerick, and C. Perini – coxswain); the Junior 4+ (T. Kascits, A. Dew, M. Plekes, A. Andrews, and S. Doletzky); the Junior 8+ (E. Emerick, M. Marvin, O. Bigelow, L. Pratt, T. Kascits, A. Dew, A. Andrews, M. Plekes, and B. VanderBerg – coxswain); and the Lightweight 8+ (C. Perini, S. Doletzky, K. LaBadie, B. Dady, L. Dunham, S. Wasson, M. Roach, M. Fix, and H. Twardy – coxswain). The Varsity 2x (S. VanFossen and C. Wadlow) finished their race in second place.
Gold medals were earned by the Rockford men in the Lightweight 4+ (J. Nemeth, T. Maple, T. VanFossen, K. Clinthorne, and L. Conner – coxswain) and the Varsity 4+ (R. Dickinson, J. Tarrants, C. Fase, A. Carley, and L. Conner – coxswain). Silver medals were won by the Junior 4+ (M. Hendershott, J. Ullrey, A. LaBadie, T. Ingersoll, and R. Featherston – coxswain), and the Varsity 8+ (T. VanFossen, K. Clinthorne, R. Dickenson, J. Tarrants, A. LaBadie, J. Ullrey, C. Fase, A. Carley, and L. Conner – coxswain). Bronze medals were collected by the Varsity 2x (A. LaBadie and A. Carley) and the Lightweight 8+ (E. VanderVelde, T. Maple, N. Soloman, A. Soloman, E. Sawicki, T. Ingersoll, R. O’Grady, J. Nemeth, and R. Featherston – coxswain).
Because flooding resulted in the cancellation of earlier regattas, this was the first competition of the season for many rowers and their first chance to see how they rate against other schools. St. Mary’s Crew Classic draws from excellent rowing programs in the region, making it a prime opportunity for rowers and coaches to identify strengths and weaknesses before the upcoming Midwest Scholastic Rowing Championship to be held on the weekend of May 11 in Zanesville, Ohio.