The Oakland Strokes youth rowing club men’s varsity eight won gold at The Head of The Charles Regatta in Boston for the first time in team history while the women’s varsity eight took 7th place on Sunday, October 19, 2014.
Out of a field of 85 boats and through a stiff cross headwind and in brisk 45 degree weather, the Oakland Strokes varsity men outpaced Marin and St. Paul’s of London, UK, the second and third place winners respectively, leading to a most impressive victory, thus bringing home the gold. “I’m really pleased with the way the guys performed,” said the new men’s varsity head coach Brian De Regt. “They’ve dealt with a lot of stress and changes in a really mature way. It’s not easy to go through a coaching change and then a month and a half later deal with the pressure of one of the biggest races of the year, so it was great to watch them roll with the punches and go out and perform. Jason [Hilton] and last year’s staff prepared these guys really well, so I’m happy and honored to be able to come in and keep the guys headed in the right direction.”
The Oakland Strokes women likewise had an inspiring row amid notably fast competition, taking 7th in a field of 85 boats. Allison Dobb Ray, the new women’s varsity coach commented, “The girls were put in challenging position during their final preparation, dealing with an abrupt coaching change, getting to know me, and living up to the daunting Bow #1! There are a lot of teams out there going really fast, so I think it’s very impressive to pull off a top-10 finish with so many distractions. In my short time here, it’s clear that this group has a lot of potential to do great things, and I’m confident that as we’re able to settle down and establish a routine everything will fall into place.”
The Head of The Charles is one of the world’s preeminent rowing competitions, featuring races for U.S. and international rowers of all ages and abilities. This year marked the 50th anniversary of the race, making the Oakland Strokes men’s victory that much more memorable. The 2014 Regatta attracted 11,000 competitors and 400,000 spectators.