Rowing: eight crews through to the finals in St. Catharines.

Saturday, May 31, 2008 - By: Tony Crossley

The semi-finals on Saturday saw Brentwood launch 14 crews at the 63rd annual Canadian Secondary Schools Rowing Association championships regatta. A single, two doubles, a quad, 3 fours and 5 eights all braved winds (and a thunderstorm that delayed racing for 2 hours) to challenge themselves and the continent’s best competition. At the end of the day, Brentwood had qualified 4 eights, 2 fours, and 2 doubles: 38 athletes in 8 crews. A hearty congratulations was due to to the athletes, their coaches, and a navy of parents who lent their cheers and support to the crews. The senior women quad of Sarah Frangou, Claire Meloche, Stephanie Doane and Abby Rosen led the charge and raced well, but missed qualifying. Similarly the junior boys 72 kg 8+ of Ben Davies, Sal Cannatella, Ben Coull, Dillon Horth, Jordan Willie, Owen Gilbert, Stuart Wylie, Gavin Stephen, and Richard Kim raced admirably, finishing 3rd in their heat and recording the 7th fastest time, but did not advance to Sunday’s finals. The senior men 72 kg 4+ (Dan Thompson, Colin Gilbert, Steve Schultz, Pierre Receveaux and Ben Fortson) entered their semi as one of the twelve crews who survived from the 30 entries on Friday. With the 10th fastest qualifying time, they knew they were in tough against larger crews. They raced admirably, but a close 5th in the semi was not enough to propel them to the finals. The junior men 8 reversed the club’s fortunes with a convincing win in their event. In the words of bowman Jordan Wille, they “owned” the race. Their time was one of the fastest of the day and sets them up well for their final on Sunday. The junior boys 4 followed up their fine performance on Friday with another solid race. The bilingual junior men double of Greg Willock and Alejandro Sadurni (they make all of their race calls in Spanish) demonstrated the depth of the junior boy’s program (19 strong at this regatta) by recording a start-to-finish win in their first race of the regatta. Andale! Andale!

Not to be outdone by the boys, the junior women 8+ and the junior women 4+ also won their semi with a convincing performance (just like their heat on Friday). Las Vegas bookmakers predict that safe bets are on these girls! The senior women double of Becca Holland and Quinn Erickson, winners of their heat on Friday placed second in their semi-final and advance strongly to Sunday’s finals. Quinn also raced the single placing a strong 5th. In the feature races of the day (the heavy eights), the varsity women had the race of their season winning their semi over 7 crews in convincing fashion. Leading from start to finish, Ms. Kelly’s girls were a picture of textbook technical excellence. The varsity men also led from start to finish and accelerating in the final stretch to put more than a boat length between their closest competition. Both crews will compete in finals late Sunday.

Jim Ganley

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