The Arch City and Westerville high school club rowing teams closed their respective seasons by competing at USRowing Youth Nationals.

In the national regatta, held June 9-11 in Sarasota, Florida, Westerville had three boats competing and Arch City was represented by one.

The top three boats in varsity competitions at the Midwest Junior Rowing Championships held May 20 and 21 on Harsha Lake in Batavia automatically advanced to nationals.

Each event at nationals began with 24 boats that had qualified from various regional regattas and included heats June 9, qualifying competitions June 10 and finals June 11.

The top six boats then advanced to the A Final, with the next six moving on to a B Final and the next six qualifying for the C Final. Some events also had a D Final.

Westerville pleased
with representation

The top finishing area boat was Westerville’s pair of junior Tori Cooke and sophomore Maddie Kirwin. They finished fifth in 8 minutes, 4.48 seconds.

Cooke attends New Albany and Kirwin attends Genoa Christian.

Also for Westerville, the boys lightweight 8 finished third (6:08.9) in the B Final and ninth overall and the varsity 8 was first (5:57.05) in the D Final and 19th overall.

“It was just great for the whole club to see a whole bunch of people go to nationals this year,” said Westerville South senior Travis Heft, who sat in the fifth seat of the varsity 8. “Last year we had 11 go and this year we had 20.”

Heft, who will compete for the University of San Diego, also qualified for nationals in a boat with Columbus Academy senior Evan Lane after they captured the title in 7:08.1 at the Midwest Junior meet.

They did not compete at nationals, however.

New Albany junior Zach Thurston was in the stroke seat of the varsity 8 boat, followed by New Albany junior Keith Cook, Lane, Heft, New Albany junior Joey Trybus, Newark Catholic junior Adam Bloom, New Albany junior Lance Berry and Westerville Central senior Nick Samson. The coxswain was Abby Jung, a sophomore from Westerville South.

Lane has committed to California and Samson will compete for the club team at Cincinnati.

Stroking the boys light 8 was New Albany senior Jack Hutchinson. Also on the boat were Westerville Central junior Tim Binnig, New Albany seniors Riley Cackovic, Andrew Choe and Ryan Klinger, New Albany junior Jack Reese, New Albany sophomore Preston Cooke, Dublin Jerome junior Emran Metzger and Columbus School for Girls senior Kenzie Yates, who was the coxswain.

Cackovic has committed to row for Mercyhurst.

“There was about 85 to 90 percent humidity, so it was super hot,” Heft said. “You’re covered with sweat just from the warmup, but it was fun. One thing about rowing is that building chemistry is important. It’s definitely a good life skill. It definitely teaches you how hard you have to work, and if you work hard, the improvement shows.”

Arch City boat does
well at nationals

Arch City was represented at nationals by its girls lightweight 8 boat, which finished fourth (7:04.76) in the C Final and 16th overall.

“I’m proud of all the girls’ hard work and dedication throughout this spring season and look forward to building on the progress they’ve made,” coach Dave Ferris said.

Olentangy sophomore Samantha Billy sat in the stroke seat, followed by Olentangy Liberty junior Kennedy Young, Liberty senior Jordyn Irelan, Olentangy sophomore Jordi McBurney-Buell, Liberty senior Maggie Mason, Westerville Central freshman Hannah Fowler, Hilliard Darby junior Ella Carney and Liberty senior Kasey Kelly. Liberty freshman Lexi Haenszel was the coxswain.

The boat was runner-up (7:04.5) at the Midwest regatta.

“USRowing Youth Nationals was a great way to finish up our fourth spring season, as well as a fitting send-off for our three seniors in the boat,” Ferris said.