PHOTO AND STORY COURTESY USROWING
National titles in 38 boat classes were up for grabs on Sunday at the 2023 USRowing Youth National Championships. Presented by Broadridge Financial Solutions Inc., this year’s youth nationals was the largest ever with 835 entries from 225 clubs across the country bringing in just over 4,000 athletes to Nathan Benderson Park in Sarasota, Fla.
Rowing Club of the Woodlands’ Devan Godfrey repeated as champion in the men’s youth single sculls, winning the final by nearly five seconds over South Orlando Rowing Association’s Cooper Hagan. While Godfrey pulled away over the final 500 meters, the race was tight coming into the final quarter of the race. Hagan got out to the early lead and still held the advantage at the midway point. That’s when Godfrey began to close the gap, taking a slight lead as the scullers crossed the 1,500-meter mark. Godfrey crossed the line in a 7:14.75 to earn the gold medal, with Hagan taking second in a 7:19.64. Brophy College Preparatory Crew’s Ian O’Riley finished third in a 7:21.90.
“It feels good to go back-to-back,” Godfrey said. “This year was a bit more of a challenge because I’m doing both the single and the quad. The main motivation was that I’ve done it once before, and I really (didn’t) want to win it once and then go slower. That would be disappointing, so it was more or less just trying to redo what I did last year.”
After finishing second last year, Oak Neck Rowing Academy’s Catherine Barry brought home the gold medal in the women’ youth single sculls, winning by more than seven seconds. Waterford Crew’s Anna Holtey held a slight lead after 500 meters before Barry moved into first position at the midway point of the race. Barry continued to pull away from the field over the final 1,000 meters, with Holtey taking second. Barry, who’s sister, Ella, won the event in 2021, crossed the line in a 7:59.44, with Holtey finishing second in an 8:06.60. Triangle Rowing Club’s Annelise Hahl, who won the U17 women’s single sculls last year, finished third in an 8:08.88.
“It was so fun,” said Barry about crossing the finish line. “It’s definitely something that I’ve been thinking about and something I’ve been working towards, so finally having that moment and making it a reality is just so rewarding. Coming here and watching (Ella win), I knew that was something that I would want to do by the time I finished high school.”
RowAmerica Rye took home the gold medal in the men’s youth eight, besting Oakland Strokes by more than two seconds. RowAmerica bolted out to the lead in the first 500 meters and never looked back. Oakland made a move with about 500 meters to go but RowAmerica Rye responded and cruised to a 2.44-second victory. RowAmerica clocked a 5:48.46, with Oakland finishing in a 5:50.90. Newport Aquatic Center took third in a 5:53.55.
Marin Rowing Association won the women’s youth eight final by 2.63 seconds over Greenwich Crew. Marin took the early lead, with Greenwich pressing them in the middle 1,000 meters. But Marin was able to pull away in the final 500 meters to win the race in a 6:28.20. Greenwich finished second in a 6:30.83, with Newport Aquatic Center winning the bronze in a 6:31.54.
In the men’s youth double sculls, Redwood Scullers’ Charlie Vaksman and Alex Kawaja took the lead early and earned the gold medal by just over four seconds, but it was a tight battle for the two other medals between three crews. Y Quad Cities Rowing’s Nikhil Ramaraju and Aden Anderson took the silver medal in a 6:44.34, with Great Miami Rowing Club’s Carter Pence and Malachi Anderson edging out Artemis Rowing’s Calder Fritz and Ralph Kasow by 0.1 seconds to win the bronze medal in a 6:45.19.
Maritime Rowing Club held off a hard-charging Los Gatos Rowing Club to win the men’s youth quadruple sculls by less than one second. Los Gatos grabbed the early lead before Maritime moved into first position in the second 500 meters. Maritime continued to lead as the boats crossed the 1,500-meter mark. Los Gatos made a late push, but Maritime held on to win in a 6:08.10. Los Gatos finished second in a 6:08.74, with Texas Rowing Center taking third in a 6:17.61.
Rowing with a new partner this year, Atlanta Junior Rowing Association’s Max Allemeier repeated as champion of the men’s youth inclusive double sculls. Allemeier and Samuel Link won the race in a 7:39.86, finishing more than 35 seconds ahead of Conestoga Crew Club’s Sam Wang and Gustavo Carvalhal.
Redwood Scullers’ Olivia Petri easily won the women’s under 17 single sculls, clocking an 8:17.12 to take home the gold by nearly seven seconds. Petri finished second in the event at last year’s youth nationals. Three Rivers Rowing Association’s Reese McGeary took silver in an 8:23.89, with Brighton Rowing Club’s Maya Torres-Panzer placing third. Earlier in the day, Petri stroked the Redwood women’s youth quadruple sculls to a silver medal. Oregon Rowing Unlimited won gold in a 6:54.38, with Redwood taking second in a 7:00.17. Oak Neck Rowing Academy finished third in a 7:04.24.
“It felt relieving,” Petri said of crossing the finish line in the single. “It was my second race of the day because I had raced in the youth quad, so I was just trying to get through the (2,000 meters). It definitely felt nice. I finally won the event. I’ve (raced) it three times. It felt like closure on the U17 age category.”
Belen Jesuit Prep School’s Marcus Mantecon claimed victory in the men’s under 17 single sculls, defeating Coeur d’Alene Rowing Association’s Elijah Harrison by just under a second. Mantecon took the early lead on the field and then held off Harrison’s late charge in the last 500 meters. Mantecon clocked a 7:19.80, with Harrison finishing in a 7:20.75. CRI-Row Boston’s Simeon John finished third.