Area teams show promise as season begins
The Westerville high school club rowing team has had numerous boats advance to the USRowing Youth Nationals, and last spring it had a boat finish in the top three for the first time.
Coaches Matt Chase and Trish Chase, now in their 18th season, are equally proud that their program continues to produce college-caliber athletes.
Senior Jackie Huddle (New Albany High School) has been accepted to Stanford, while senior Ryan Kesselring (Westerville Central) will attend Northeastern. Senior Allison Koenig (New Albany) will attend the U.S. Naval Academy and senior Patrick LeCorgne (St. Charles) is going to Cornell.
Senior Arman Odabas (New Albany) has been accepted to Harvard and Princeton.
"Tell me another (program) that has five athletes who are going to top-rate schools," Matt Chase said. "The real story is out of our 15 graduating seniors, five of them will row collegiately. For those parents who want to get their kids into an Ivy League school, rowing is a way to do that."
Westerville will be the host program for the Hoover Invitational on Saturday, April 20, on Hoover Reservoir. Last season, Westerville took second behind the Cincinnati Junior Rowing Club.
Also last year, the boys lightweight 4 finished second (7 minutes, 2.6 seconds) in the Midwest Junior championships to advance to Youth Nationals. Kesselring and LeCorgne were on that boat.
Also advancing to grand finals in the Midwest Junior championships were the boys first varsity 4 (fifth, 7:24.3), the boys light 8 (fifth, 6:39.7), the girls light 8 (fourth, 7:34.1) and the girls varsity 4 (seventh, 8:33). The top three boats in each event advanced to nationals, where the boys light 4 of Kesselring, LeCorgne and 2012 graduates David Caspers, Danny Just and coxswain Taylor Gainey placed third (6:50.49).
This year's Midwest Junior championships will be held May 18 and 19 on Harsha Lake in Bethel.
UA rowing teams have strong seniors
Upper Arlington has eight seniors on its boys team and four on its girls squad, and all 12 should be key competitors this spring.
UA, which is the only area high school varsity program, competes in the Scholastic Rowing Association of America (SRAA) for high schools as well as in USRowing events that include high school and club teams.
The boys team features seniors Griffith Brown, Sam Klamar, Will Berg, Will Byrd, Frank Atkinson, Matt Knox and Matt Fredrick as well as Merritt Ogle, a girl who is a coxswain.
"We've got several seniors who will probably make our first varsity 8 and we've got some solid juniors and a couple sophomores showing some progress," said coach Chris Swartz, who has led the program since 1993. "We're still a relatively young squad."
The girls team features seniors Maura Griffith, Ashley Holden, Chloe Capuano and Grace Tucker and juniors Ashley Cameron, Hannah Johnston, Kaitlyn Roberts, Grace Saalman and Bridget Schodorf.
"We've got a smaller group coming back, but it's a talented group," second-year girls coach Mike Rice said. "We had a real good winter training program and have had some real good practices."
The Golden Bears will compete Saturday, April 20, in the Dillon Challenge on Lake Dillon in Nashport, the site of the SRAA's Midwest Scholastic championships May 11 and 12.
Last season, the boys light 8 was 16th (6:30.82) at Youth Nationals. The Bears also had 15 boys and 29 girls in attendance for SRAA nationals.
Also last season, UA won its first Ohio Governor's Cup since 1999.
New Dublin coaches excited for season
Farrah Edwards took over as girls coach and Joe Lambert became boys coach of the Dublin club team in the fall after Gina Crooks and Jared Crooks had coached the past four years.
Edwards, a Cincinnati native who rowed for Ohio State, has 13 girls on her team. Among the top rowers are seniors Maddie Irelan (Dublin Jerome) and Sarah Davis (Dublin Coffman), junior Treasa O'Tighearnaigh (Olentangy Liberty) and sophomores Emily Marshall (Jerome) and Rachel Serafy (home schooled).
"Traditionally Dublin has focused on (boats of) 4s, but I would really like to have a solid 8," Edwards said. "That depends on how the competition goes. It's always interesting to see how we're progressing."
Lambert is a Watterson graduate who rowed for Dublin in 2001 and 2002. He's coached in a volunteer capacity since 2004.
"We've got 24 right now, which is one of the biggest boys teams we've had in years," Lambert said.
Liberty senior Jordan Shore has committed to row for the University of Michigan.
Other key rowers should include seniors Jake Marshall (Liberty), Luke Neuroth (Dublin Scioto) and Brian Smith (Liberty), junior Jordan Sculley (Coffman) and sophomore Brennan Kelly (Liberty).
Last season, the girls varsity 8 was fourth (7:01.9), the boys light 4 was fourth (7:29.5) and the boys varsity 8 took fifth (6:37.7) in the Midwest Junior meet to just miss advancing to Youth Nationals.
Hamlin hoping to build Hilliard team
Megan Hamlin, a 2008 New Albany graduate who rowed for John Carroll University, is in her first season coaching the Hilliard club program.
Jessica Duckro was the coach last spring.
There are 25 athletes in the program, including eight boys, although the only senior is Erin Rose Shaeffer (Hilliard Davidson). She is expected to be the coxswain for the boys varsity 8.
Among those competing for the girls team are juniors Courtney Duke (Hilliard Bradley), Abby Evans (Davidson), Erin Falkenbach (Davidson) and Alicia Ridgley (Davidson) and sophomore Alex Heller (Davidson).
Leading the boys team are juniors Bryce Roget (Bradley) and Troy Martin (Hilliard Darby) and sophomore David Bogan (Davidson). That trio is expected to compete in the boys varsity 4 with junior Nick Botsko (Darby) and freshman Alex Landshos (Davidson).
"I helped out last year not realizing I'd be the head coach, but it's worked out," Hamlin said. "We might take a boat to the Midwest (Junior championships), but we probably won't go as a whole team yet. We'll definitely work our way up to that next year."