Parkersburg South crew boats on to nationals
Patriots qualify five of their seven groups
NASHPORT, Ohio — After graduating nine seniors from one season ago, Parkersburg South crew wasn’t sure what to expect as the season got underway. On top of the loss of speed and experience, all departed rowers are now rowing in college.
Any time a program loses a large amount of talent there can be some worry with how the young kids will step in place of the seasoned leaders.
Turns out the rest of the team was up to the task and four boats are heading back to nationals Memorial Day weekend in Camden, New Jersey after a successful stop this past weekend at Dillon Lake for the Midwest Scholastic Championships.
The Patriots competed against 51 other teams from around the nation and 531 different entries across 42 different events.
As a team they boys finished in 12th place, while the girls were 21st for a combined team finish of 21st.
Though South didn’t have a boat in every final, they were successful in the races they competed in Saturday and Sunday.
Five of the seven Patriot entires qualified for the finals on Sunday morning. A top 3 finish was needed to advance to the Garden State.
Patriot senior Joe Madrid along with juniors Matthew Chapman and Sidney Gandee had a busy, but successful day. All three South rowers competed in one or two qualifiying events each during the Regatta.
Madrid and Chapman qualified the Patriots’ Men’s Lightweight 2x after a bronze place finish at around 8 a.m. Sunday morning. The duo’s time of 5:50.842 was fifteen seconds ahead of their next closest competitors.
Upon completion of the race, the duo received an hour break before the Men’s Varsity 4x event. Patriot coach Justin Womack wasn’t worried about the amount of rest his rowers received as they prepared for this scenario in practice.
“We race them multiple times in mulitple races during practice,” said Womack. “We were confident they knew what to do and how to recover.”
While the Patriot duo rested, another claimed the second qualifying spot after Logan Stanley and Devon Tanner took a third place finish in the Men’s Junior 2x.
A feat all the more impressive when you learn how long the pair sculled together this season. “We threw this team together this week,” said Womack. “They have never sculled together before and they asked the coaches if they could race together during practice. They wanted to try something and it turned out well.”
Sophomore stroke Janella Camp set a good rhythm in the Patriots third race of the day during the Women’s Junior 4x. The youngest qualifying team rowed a competitive race. Camp, bow Gandee (Jr.), 2-seat Kaylie Crites (Fr.) and 3-set Alaina Marshall (So.) surprised their coaches as they raced out of category and still claimed a national spot with a bronze finish.
“Sidney is a three-year rower and there was no coxen in the boat to call the shots,” said Womack. “They raced well together.”
One hour later, Gandee and senior Faith Bush finished two spots out of the qualification necessity in the Women’s Varsity 2x.
In South’s final boat of the day Chapman and Madrid grouped with juniors Gavin Rolston and Austin Braniff for a bronze finish in the Men’s Varsity 4x (quad). Chapman set the pace as a stroke and called a good race according to Womack.
All races were 1500 meters, but the Patriots need a good few weeks of training as all national events are 2000m long.