On May 17-19 the Rogue Rowing Juniors competed at the USRowing Northwest Youth Championships. The Northwest Regatta is the largest regional championships in the country with over 800 entries representing 33 teams. The regatta serves as the regional championships, Oregon state championships, and as a qualifying regatta to the USRowing Youth National Championships.
St. Mary’s junior Kate Vasey, and Analiese Kirschel, a sophomore at North Medford, teamed up to place third overall in the Women’s Varsity Lightweight 2x finals at the Northwest Youth Championships. The finish automatically qualified their boat to the 2019 USRowing Youth National Championships. It is the first time in 8 years, a Rogue Rowing boat has automatically qualified for the national championship regatta. Vasey and Kirschel have been rowing together in the lightweight doubles for the past two seasons. At the Northwest Championship event, the two young women finished second in their prelim heat to qualify with the fourth fastest time heading into the Saturday morning finals. In the championship finals the pair were able to drop an impressive 28 seconds from their prelim time to edge fourth place finisher, Vancouver Lake, by three seconds and seal their bid to nationals.
Off the water Kate has grown into the roles of student athlete and leader. In her role as team co-captain Kate is one of the first to greet new people to the team, to help younger athletes get oriented and manage the equipment and fill in whatever role might be needed by the team. She is disciplined in her preparations for practice, which has crossed over into her schoolwork. I asked Kate what rowing has meant to her over the past four years. “Rowing has meant the world to me. It not only has made me a stronger and more outgoing person but it has helped my schoolwork and friendships. I don’t know where I would be without rowing?”
On the water Kate has made strides in rowing technique, training and in learning how to race. The first two of these took shape over the winter training period. Winter is a challenging time for rowers, pushing them indoors with shortened days and long training sessions on the rowing machines and in the weight room. Kate both survived and thrived this winter period and came into the spring racing season in a good position to take advantage of the technical aspects of moving a boat. Racing strategy was learned over the early races and side-by-side racing in practices leading up to the regional championships. At the Northwest Championships the goal for Kate and Analiese was to have their best race by executing their race plan, trusting their training, and crossing the finish line with no questions left to be asked of themselves. In the grand final on Saturday morning the technical, physical and the mental all came together to achieve their goals and send them to the National Championships. I asked Kate what it means for her to be going to Sarasota next week? “It feels like a dream! I never thought that I’d make it to this stage, but here I am! It’s such a wonderful opportunity and it means that my team is becoming more prevalent in the rowing world which couldn’t have been said a couple of years ago. we’re out here doing great things and everyone should try it out!”
The 2019 US Rowing Youth National Championships serve as the premier junior rowing event in the United States. The event sees approximately 1,500 athletes competing in more than 350 crews, representing some 150 teams from across the country, all vying for national titles in 18 boat classes.
The 2019 championship event will be held June 6-9 at Nathan Benderson Park in Sarasota, Florida. The park has hosted the 2017 world championships and will be the site of the 2020 Olympic Rowing Trials.
National Championships including information on how to watch the race from home see: http://www.usrowing.org/event/2019-youth-national-championships/
For more information about Rogue Rowing including summer youth programs visit: https://www.roguerowing.org/lessons/summer-youth-rowing/
CONGRATS TO KATE VASEY