PHS crew returns to rowing club

PARKERSBURG – The Parkersburg High School crew team has moved its headquarters back to the Ohio Valley Rowing Club building.

The rowing team also has new coaches and boosters club members.

On Aug. 3, the PHS rowers, along with the coaches and boosters, moved their equipment back to the Ohio Valley Rowing Club on the Ohio River at the foot of 19th Street.

Previously, the PHS Crew team had been using the old Parkersburg water meter repair shop on Worthington Creek, owned by the city of Parkersburg.

Les Pritchard, president of the Ohio Valley Rowing Club, said he is glad to have PHS return to the rowing club and renew a relationship that had been successful for many years.

This relationship was started by Dr. Oliver H. Brundage, a local physician, who was originally from Philadelphia. Brundage started the Ohio Valley Rowing Club in 1960, and was instrumental in Parkersburg High School starting a rowing program in 1963.

From 1963 until 2008, when the team moved into temporary facilities, the Parkersburg High School crew called the Ohio Valley Rowing Club home, Pritchard said.

“Having first class facilities located in close proximity to Parkersburg High School should be very beneficial for the Big Red team,” said John Apgar, the new men’s head coach. Apgar said the coaches, boosters and rowers agreed the move was necessary.

In addition to using the rowing club boat house, the PHS team will have access to additional rowing and training equipment owned by the rowing club.

Among the shells available are two high end boats: a carbon fiber Resolute 8 with magnesium riggers and a German made that won a U.S. National Championship.

The PHS team will be using the conference room at the OVRC boat house and state of the art audio-video equipment.

For indoor training the PHS team will be using the OVRC Nautilus equipment and will have access to 16 indoor rowers, called ergs, allowing up to 30 students to train on the indoor rowers at the same time.

According to the new assistant men’s coach Alfonso Morales, “By combining the PHS equipment with some of the OVRC equipment, the Big Red Crew has the ability to have over 100 rowers on the water at the same time.”

Having more than 100 rowers on the PHS team is a goal the new coaches look to achieve in the next couple of years.

Nev Grimm, the new women’s head coach and former PHS rower, said she is excited about what these new developments will mean for the Big Red rowers.

Pritchard said having the youth team from PHS back in the boat house will complement the growing adult rowing program.

Since rowing is a lifetime sport, having an active adult and master’s program offers the high school students a way to continue enjoying rowing after graduation. Pritchard stressed that even though the youth and adults will be sharing the same boat house, they will be using the facility at different times.