Titans End 2016 Season with 3 Gold Medals at Canadian NATIONALS
In their last event of the season, the T.C. Williams Crew Team traveled to St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada to compete in the Canadian Secondary School Rowing Association (CSSRA) Championships, commonly referred to as the Canadian Nationals, on June 3-5. The Titans are regular, strong competitors at this annual event held at the Royal Canadian Henley Regatta course, the world-class international rowing site that hosted the 1970 and 1999 World Rowing Championships and rowers for the 2015 Pan American Games.
Titan rowers challenged themselves and their competition and left their mark. Every one of the 41 Titan student-athletes excelled in early races and fought their way to Sunday’s finals. All three Titan women’s boats – the Girls First Varsity 8, the Girls Varsity Lightweight 8 and the Girls Freshman 8 – captured gold medals in the Canadian Nationals. This was the best T.C. result in this regatta for years and capped an outstanding season for the Titan rowers.
The CSSRA has hosted this championship series, which is open to high school teams from around the world, since 1945. This year’s event included boats from almost 100 Canadian high schools from coast to coast, and 27 U.S. schools, mostly from New York and Michigan. The 200o-meter Henley Course is the same distance used for World Championship and Olympic rowing, compared to the 1500-meter courses run in most U.S. regattas. In addition to the longer race course, the Canadian Nationals also include different weight categories than in U.S. regattas, so T.C. Women and Men Lightweight rowers competed against rowers who, on average, were able to weigh 8 pounds more throughout the racing season.
The Women’s First 8 captured the gold medal (and the Canadian National title) in the premier female category of the regatta, posting outstanding times in its heat, semi-finals and the final itself. The Girls Varsity First 8 ended the season on a strong note with a gold-medal winning time of 6:49.14 against a tough field of competitors, crossing the line almost five seconds ahead of Havergal College and seven seconds ahead of Pioneer Rowing Club. This is the third consecutive year that T.C. has won the gold in the premier women’s category at the Canadian Nationals. Members of the boat included Brooke Teferra (coxswain), Maria Justiniano, Grace Hogan, Kathleen Murphy, Reed Kenny, Amelia Bender, Giulia Pastore, Rachel Sedehi, and Caroline Hill. They are coached by Jaime Rubini.
The Titan Girls Varsity Lightweight 8, competing in the Senior Women’s 63 Kilogram final, also dominated its category, winning both the preliminary and final race. It earned the gold medal with a time of 6:49.79, over six seconds ahead of second-place Denis Morris Catholic High School. Its finish was only .65 seconds slower than the First 8, showing the power of this lightweight team, which had previously won a bronze medal in the Nationals and a silver medal in the national-level Stotesbury regatta. The Girls Varsity Lightweight 8 included Paige St. John (coxswain), Anissa Ashraf, Lauren Kelly, Sierra Arnold, Leeann Richards, Tori Cook, Olivia Anthony, Sarah Scroggs, and Emily Debodene. Coach Jaime Rubini guides these women.
The Titan Freshman Girls boat, which has won or medalled in every event in which it participated this season, scored a decisive victory in the Canadian Nationals, sprinting for the victory in the Junior Women 8 final. With a time of 7:01.43, it finished over five seconds faster than second-place Havergal College and almost 15 seconds ahead of bronze medal winner Branksome Hall. The gold medal-winning Women Freshman 8 includes Paula Filios (coxswain), Chloe Marsh, Grace Fluharty, Blythe Markel, Ailysh Motinger, Piper Bucholz, Charlotte Milone, Elspeth Collard, and Anna Guynn. Their coach is TC Girls Head Coach Patrick Marquardt.
The T.C. Men also excelled throughout the regatta, with each of the boys competing on boats in two separate categories during the regatta, showing the strength and versatility of the Titan male rowers. Three of the four boys boats made it to the final round.
The T.C. Boys Varsity First 8, rowing together as a group for the first time this season, excelled in its heat and semi-final, advancing to the finals in the premier male category of the regatta, the Senior Men Eight. Battling against the best boats in Canada and from many U.S. locations, the boys captured fifth place overall, an outstanding result, with a time of 6:22.376. The senior boat, made up of members of the T.C. Boys First 4 and the Lightweight 8, included Carter Weitekamp, Asher Elkins, Gareth Markel, Preston Tracy, Ian Willmore, Connor McGivern, Jacob Souza, Peter Laboy and Michaela Gleeson (coxswain).
The Titan Boys Lightweight 8, with a strong season that included a silver medal at the national Stotesbury regatta, also excelled in the Senior Men 72 Kg category. Taking second in its heat, the Titans faced a final with the worst weather conditions of the weekend, with strong winds and white-capped water. Battling against the elements and their competitors, the lightweight boys took fifth place with a time of 6:20.606, shaving 10 seconds off its semi-final performance in an outstanding finale to a great season. The Men’s Varsity Lightweight 8 boat included Claire Williams (coxswain), Stefanos Psaltis-Ivanos, Connor McGivern, Ian Willmore, Wogan Snyder, Jacob Souza, Addison Guynn, Drew Jones, and Peter Laboy.
The Boys Lightweight 4, racing in the Senior Men 66 Kg 4 category, won its heat in a thrilling victory and excelled in its semi-final round. Competing against the strongest boats in the finals, it captured fifth place in the regatta, with an outstanding time of 7:14.47.
The TC Boys First 4, racing in a highly competitive category, put in a strong performance in its initial heat, making it to semi-finals. While it was not successful in its bid for the finals, its outstanding effort capped a strong season for the First 4, which regularly won or placed high in its competitions.
The Canadian Nationals ended an outstanding season for the Titan rowers, which included three Canadian gold medals, one silver and three bronze medals at Nationals, three silver medals and one bronze medal at the national-level Stotesbury regatta, and 2 gold medals, a silver, and four bronze medals at the Virginia state championships. The Titans will celebrate their superb season with awards on June 8, wish the seniors well as they leave for college, and be ready for another winning season in 2017.