April 6-7, 2013 San Diego, CA
Oakland Strokes sent six crews south to San Diego’s Mission Bay to compete in “America’s Premier Spring Regatta”, the San Diego Crew Classic on April 6-7. First held in 1973, the Crew Classic originally intended to bring the nation’s top collegiate crews together to kick off the Spring Rowing season. Over the years the Crew Classic has grown to include races for juniors and masters and is now the largest regatta in the world held primarily for eight-oared rowing shells. This year 422 crews from 140 clubs in 27 US states and three countries came to a venue that has played an important role in drawing attention to the very strong rowing programs on the west coast.
Preliminary heats were held starting early Saturday morning. The conditions were pretty choppy due to a strong cross tailwind, with an outgoing tide almost the entire day. Yet all of the Oakland Strokes boats battled through the challenging conditions in their heats to qualify to race in their event’s Grand Finals. When asked if his athletes prepare differently for this big regatta, Oakland Strokes Varsity Men’s Head Coach Jason Hilton said, “This race for us is no different than our regional competitions, except it is on a larger stage and the build-up is bigger. Mentally we just try to keep our athletes in a space where they are ready to perform, even though the anticipation for the event is higher.”
The first final was the Junior Men’s Lightweight 8+ rowing for the Shimano Rowing Dynamics Cup, on late Saturday afternoon. The wind died and the tide shifted just before their start giving that race the best conditions of the day. The crew of Allen Hosler (Piedmont HS), Eli Morley (Bentley School), Alec Petty (Piedmont HS), Tucker Johnson (Piedmont HS), Ben Peterson (Campolindo HS), Max McDonald (Piedmont HS), Michael Landheer (Piedmont HS), Danny Hogan (De La Salle), and coxswain Hannah Christopher (Miramonte HS) finished 5th with a time of 6:30.43. Coach Hilton said that they performed extremely well in a tough prelim heat coming from behind to grab the final qualifying spot. Hilton explained, “They had the toughest road in that they had to compete in the final only 3 hours after their first heat. In the final they rowed well, in contact with the pack despite the fact that the Newport crossed over into their lane.”
The remaining Oakland Strokes crews raced Sunday afternoon as the wind increased to a strong westerly cross wind, “very typical for this course” coach Hilton commented. Oakland Strokes Varsity 8+ women have been battling Marin all season for first place, and this time Marin came out ahead besting the Strokes team of Alia Shafi (Acalanes HS), Zabie Elmgren (Oakland Tech), Lizzie Pate (Miramonte HS), Ellen Pate (Miramonte HS), Amanda Rutherford (Piedmont HS), Katie Hubert (Piedmont HS), Amy Tarczynski (St Marys), Camille Triebsch (Campolindo HS) and Laura Rosas (Miramonte HS) by 3.54 seconds to take the Gilman-Mulliken Cup.
In the Junior Mens Varsity William Robinson Memorial Cup Grand Final the Oakland Strokes Varsity 8+ had one of their best performances of the year. Qualifying for their final with the second fastest time of the day, the crew of Erik Johnson (Miramonte HS), Tanner Malone (Albany HS), Luke O’Brien (De La Salle), Sean Sullivan (De La Salle), Marshal Krock (Monte Vista HS), Kevin Chang (Bentley School), Cubby Parker (Bentley School), Vigo Hoite (Berkeley HS) and coxswain Karmi Chan (Miramonte HS) finished in 3rd place behind Marin and Long Beach with a time of 6:10.54. They overcame a slow start to chase down the pack for an exciting third place finish. Coach Hilton remarked, “The Varsity men are gaining speed into the final weeks of the season and that is very exciting.”
Two Oakland Strokes Junior Womens Boats qualified for their JV final with the Strokes “A” boat winning the race with a time of 7:02.38, and bringing home the ZLAC Rowing Club Trophy. The winning boat roster included Indigo Catton (Campolindo HS), Tara Bozzini (Acalanes HS), Abby Vare (St Mary’s), Caitlin Olson (Oakland Tech), Caroline Carper (Alameda HS), Marie Johnson (Miramonte HS), Katie Ware (Acalanes HS), Madelynn Prendergast (Head Royce), and Lauren Elizabeth Noga (Head Royce). The Strokes JV “B” boat finished strong in fourth place behind Strokes “A”, Marin, and Marina AC. The Strokes “B” JV boat roster included Alanah Anderson (Piedmont HS), Kelsey Anderson (Alameda HS), Isabella Calderon (Miramonte HS), Olivia Klinkenberg (Acalanes HS), Erica Holland (Head Royce), Gabby Pascual-Mead (St. Marys), Hanna Stenovec (Miramonte HS), Alexandra Sung-Jereczek (Piedmont HS), Megan Cvitanovic (Alameda HS).
The Junior Men’s JV 8+ were the last of the Strokes crews to compete on Sunday. They had a close qualifying heat and raced very well according to Coach Hilton. JV 8+ athletes Aubert Marcu (Miramonte HS), Weston Brown (Piedmont HS), Christian Cuellar (St. Joseph Notre Dame), Josef Stark (Oakland Tech), Chris Livingston (De La Salle), Jack Rauser (Alameda HS), Andrew Budge (Piedmont HS), Eric Slack (Albany HS) and coxswain Brenna Lowrey (Miramonte HS) finished 5th, more than a second ahead of Marin.
Summing up the weekend, Strokes President Steve Johnson said, “The regatta went really well. We met our goal of getting all six Strokes boats into their grand finals. That is a quite a feat considering each category had 18-20 of the top boats in the country here competing. Every Strokes boat finished in the top five. Our next big regatta is the Southwest Regionals in Sacramento. We are in a good position to do well there too.”
Oakland Strokes Womens Junior JV8+: Indigo Catton, Tara Bozzini, Abby Vare, Caitlin Olson, Caroline Carper, Marie Johnson, Katie Ware, Madelynn Prendergast and Lauren Elizabeth Noga.