With their win at the NEIRA Championships (the fourth in a row for Deerfield), the boys 1V4+ punched their ticket to the US Rowing Youth National Championships in Sarasota, FL. After navigating graduation and a week of exams, the crew traveled to Florida on June 4th to finish their preparations for the regatta on the championship course at Nathan Benderson Park.
The first few days proved to be an adjustment with temperatures in the low 90s and plenty of humidity and thunderstorms, but the boys settled in and put together some good sessions on the water in the lead up to the event.
A new racing format for the regatta this year added to the challenge of preparing for a regatta as competitive as the Youth National Championships, but the boat worked hard to seamlessly incorporate a new member (Henry Lowe ’19 replaced Luca Basile ’17, who, as a post-graduate, was not eligible to race at Youths) while adjusting to the added distance (Nationals is raced over 2000 meters whereas crews race 1500 meters at the NEIRA Championships).
Racing began on Friday, June 9, and the boys proved to be up to the challenge. In the morning Time Trial, the crew cruised down the course and posted the 3rd quickest time, a result that was good enough to move them into the semifinals, which would take place on Friday afternoon. After a quick turnaround, the boys lined up against five of the fast crews in the country with only the top three moving on to the A Final and a chance to compete for the National Championship. A strong race saw the Deerfield crew win their semifinal and earn a place in the A Final on Sunday morning.
After an off day on Saturday, the boys returned to Nathan Benderson Park on Sunday morning eager to test themselves against a fast and deep A Final field that boasts crews from all across the country. A strong start put Deerfield in a tightly packed group at the front of the race and a strong push around the 750 meter mark saw the boys work their bow to the front. They wouldn’t trail again as they continued to extend their lead through the middle 1000 meters. A very good crew from Oklahoma City pushed hard in the final meters to close the gap, but couldn’t overtake Deerfield as the boys in green won the A Final and brought the US Rowing Youth National Championship back to the Pioneer Valley!
A huge congratulations to Freddie Johnson ’17, Will Sanford ’17, Gordon Johnson ’17, Henry Lowe ’19, and Dani Michelson ’17!
Results from the US Rowing Youth National Championships can be found here:
Video from the US Rowing Youth National Championships (Finals) can be found here: