Sebastian River Rowing competed at the Florida Scholastic Rowing Association’s Sculling State Championship Regatta on April 15th and 16th. The team brought 24 rowers to Nathan Benderson Park in Sarasota and made some noise.
Jake Rincon (Junior) and Jaden Watkins (Sophomore) brought home the program’s 19th Scholastic State Championship in the Boys Junior Double and finished 3rd overall. Jake and Jaden narrowly missed 1st place overall in one of Sunday’s most hotly contested races in the finals. Jake and Jaden gutted it out through a Time Trial, semi-finals, and a fast final to bring the trophy home.
“Jake and Jaden knew they had to keep it close until the end of the race, where they would have the chance to use their amazing sprint to catch anyone close to them. Unfortunately, they didn’t have enough water to bring home the gold. Either way, it was a great race,” Head Coach Tom Lange told Sebastian Daily.
Junior Oliver Dobson joined Jake and Jaden in the medals by placing 3rd in the Lightweight Boys Single. Oliver qualified for the finals but was seeded 8th based on placement and time from the heat on Saturday. Oliver started a bit slow but found his grove at the 500-meter mark and went from 6th to 3rd place. Oliver finished 2nd scholastically and brought home the team’s first medal in any single category.
“It was an amazing performance; I knew he had it in him. Coach Paul Mokha and I were riding on the bike path and watching him the whole way down the race course. When Coach Mokha screamed “Shark Attack,” Oliver started moving through the other boats on the water.”
Our other junior boats, the Boys Junior Double of Felix Rivera (11th grade) and Kris Waters (10th grade) and the Boys Junior Single of Zach Long (10th grade) rowed very well but found themselves in the Petite finals.
The boy’s freshmen squad rowed well in the Freshmen Double and Quad events. The boys, Freshmen Double of Blake Boone and Adam Greer, placed 7th overall and 3rd scholastically, falling just short of bringing the E. Michael Stutzke trophy back home. The Freshmen Quad featuring Kyler Dugan, JohnPaul Belansky, Sam Speak, and 8th grader Grant Maschhoff came in 12th overall (5th scholastically) in a hotly contested event which featured some of the best racing in the semi-finals and finals on Sunday.
The girl’s team, led by a Varsity girls quad featuring Piper Patterson (Senior), Maddy Engle (Freshmen), Hannah Rincon (Freshmen), and Sasha Hepler (Freshmen), finished 2nd in Scholastic Team Points behind Plant High School from Tampa. The 2nd place finish ties with the program’s best finish (2018).
“The goal of finishing in the top 3 scholastically in team points is on the chalkboard at the back of the boathouse. We are a small and very young team, so I thought it would be great for every girl on our team to have a part in doing something amazing, and they rose to the challenge,” stated Coach Lange.
The Varsity quad finished 5th overall and 2nd scholastically. The girls entered the race knowing they would have to give it their best shot, and they did. They spent most of the entire race dueling it out for 3rd place with Plant High School and First Coast Rowing Club (Jacksonville) and, unfortunately, ended up out of the medals and 2nd place scholastically.
“We were by far the youngest boat in the event. They had a tough race on Saturday but managed to make the finals, and I knew they were going to show everyone what they were made of on Sunday. We are sad to see Piper go, but she has left this team in good hands,” added Lange.
The Varsity Quad was joined by a Freshmen and Junior Quad who were also very young boats for their categories. The Freshmen Quad featured three middle school rowers, Stroke Ember Lloyd (8th grade) and 7th graders Ahnolah Quiggley and Emma McElroy. Ember competed at States last year in a Freshmen Double and a Four, and was the boat’s leader with help from the bow, Rainey Johnson (9th grade). They finished 12th overall and 2nd scholastically.
The girls Junior Quad featuring Sophia Crowley (10th grade), Gianna Mazzziotta (10th grade), Jayden Salazar (11th grade), and Coralynn Kapp (9th grade) finished 13th overall and in 5th place scholastically.
“Both the Freshmen and Junior Quad had their best races of the season during the finals on Sunday. It was amazing to see each boat get stronger as the weekend wore on. The future is definitely bright for Sebastian River Rowing,” Lange stated.
Overall, the team finished 3rd in team points out of 20 scholastic teams. It was the highest finish in Program History.
Sebastian River Rowing will spend the next two weeks training leading to the FSRA State Sweep Championships. The Rowing Sharks are hoping to qualify some more boats for the Scholastic National Championships in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, on Memorial Day Weekend.
For more information about Sebastian River Rowing, please visit sebastiancrew.org. Summer Camps are available for all levels of rowers. Become a Champion and Row like a Shark!