Best showing ever for NBRC

The North Bay Rowing Club closed out its spring season with a strong showing at the U.S. Rowing Southwest Regional Championships on Lake Natoma in Rancho Cordova. The regatta featured teams from across California, Nevada, Arizona and Utah with 660 entries representing 37 clubs and was held from May 4-6.

It was a historic weekend for the club from Petaluma that posted the best results in the club’s history at the event. In all, the squad advanced seven to the grand finals, earned two medals and qualified one boat to the U.S. Rowing National Youth Invitational in June.

“We had a really great weekend and I am thrilled for these athletes.” said NBRC head coach Will Whalen. “All of our boats raced really hard, and we are seeing the results improve every season.”

Saturday saw five of the six boats racing advance to finals. The Women’s Lightweight Double (Alex McDermott, Lauren Poehlmann) placed second in the morning heats to advance to the afternoon finals, ultimately placing sixth.

The Men’s Lightweight Double, (Will Griffin, Michael Francheschi) advanced through a time trial Friday afternoon and a semifinal Saturday morning to finish fifth in the grand final out of 24 total entries.

The Women’s Single saw sophomore Lorelei Deely make it to the finals in her first year as a varsity athlete, placing sixth in the race.

North Bay’s Novice Coxed Quad (Livija Langberg, Ella Keefer, Ella Berger, Megan Popleiak, Hannah Cooper), all first-year rowers, found the finals in their event as well, just missing the bronze to place fourth.

Racing concluded Saturday with heats for the Men’s Lightweight Coxed Four, (Ren Demsher, Michael McDermott, Ben Kropelnicki, Patrick McDermott, Miko Brown). The squad advanced to the Sunday finals.

In the finals, the Lightweight Four jumped out early with crews from Newport Aquatic Center and Long Beach. They held the third place spot for the majority of the race, and held off a charge by a second Newport boat in a furious sprint to take the bronze medal, third in the region and earn an automatic bid to the U.S. Rowing Youth National Championship. That championship will also be held on Lake Natoma in June.

“These guys found a new level this weekend. They got out quick, and fought for the entire 2,000 meters.” said Whalen.

The club’s final event of the weekend, the Women’s Freshman Coxed Quad (Livija Langberg, Ella Keefer, Ella Berger, Jordan Rigney, Lucy Decker), provided an exciting and nail-biting conclusion to the race, with North Bay getting an early lead alongside Casitas Rowing from Ventura. The two crews stayed within feet of each other for nearly the entire race, dropping third-place Oakland Strokes to lead the remainder of the pack. North Bay gained a slight advantage in the last hundred meters to take the gold medal by a few feet over Casitas.

“I couldn’t be more proud of them,” said women’s novice coach Steve Genise. “In a race that close, the technique is matched, the fitness is matched; at that point you can only win with grit.”

While that event was not a qualifier for the national championship, Genise says the girls are excited to have found such success their freshman year, and are eager to practice through the summer in preparation for a strong fall season.

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