For High School rowers, there is nothing quite like racing at the Head of the Charles regatta. Held on the same stretch of the Charles River in Boston every Fall since 1965, the Head of the Charles regatta is the largest event in the world. This year the two day regatta was held on October 20th and 21st amidst brisk temperatures and swirling winds. Despite the weather, it attracts Olympians, world champions and international athletes of all ages. As noted by’ Men’s Head Coach Brian de Regt, the regatta is “our only opportunity to race against the best schools and junior clubs from around the world. The course is challenging both in distance and layout.”
Many crews are excited just to have the chance to row at the Head of the Charles. However, for the past several years the youth rowers from the Oakland Strokes have been competing for victories in the Youth Eight event. In a race where the finishing in the top ten is considered an accomplishment, the Strokes’ four victories in the Men’s and Women’s Youth Eights the last six years puts them in rare company.
For this year’s squad Coach de Regt pulled from his 2018 National Championship crews, including from the Gold Medalist Lightweight Eight and Silver Medalist Varsity Eight. Their experience paid off, battling the conditions to finish fifth out of the 85 entries. Despite not having the cleanest run down the course, the Strokes finished well ahead of their Californian rivals from Marin, Norcal (Redwood City), and Los Gatos.
The Men’s Youth 8+ boat was comprised of Ryan Tripp (Piedmont HS), Adrian Layer (Piedmont HS), John Mark Ozaeta (Miramonte HS), Matthew Boranian (Head-Royce), Richard Reid (St. Joseph Notre Dame Alameda), Andrew Simpson (Berkeley HS), Andrew Stoddard (Piedmont HS), Carter Young (San Ramon Valley HS), and coxswain Audrey Gates (Miramonte HS).
The Oakland Strokes are a rowing club for High School and Middle School students. The Strokes have won 19 National championships since their inception in 1974. Most Strokes athletes have never rowed before joining, and in a few years many are competing at the national level.
Oakland Strokes is still welcoming new middle school and high school rowers for this season. Interested families can attend their Open House on November 10th from 11am-12pm at Tidewater Boathouse in Oakland and learn more at OaklandStrokes.org.