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North Bay Rowing Club sets high bar in prestigious regattas

North Bay Rowing Club finished its first two competitions of the season with some impressive results.

The squad competed in the Head of the Charles in Boston, and last weekend, Head of the American in Rancho Cordova.

“I am really happy with the results this early in the season. I think all boats raced very hard, and established a high bar for the rest of the season,” said head coach Will Whalen.

The first race of the season saw 10 athletes travel to Boston to compete in what is the largest two-day rowing regatta in the world. With more than 11,000 athletes from across the globe gathering to race three miles on the storied Charles River, it provided a great, if not immediate, barometer of the speed the club has found early in the season.

The women’s youth four with coxswain (Aidan Kern, 16, Technology High; Rose Waterbury, 17, Petaluma High; Ella Berger, 16, Sonoma Academy; Liz Manka, 16, Petaluma High; Lauren Poehlmann, 17, Petaluma High) started far back in the field in the 69th out of 85 spots. Showing impressive speed and some excellent driving, the squad finished up in eighth place, beating teams from across the US, Canada and Great Britain.

Poehlmann said after the race, “We feel so fortunate to have the opportunity to represent NBRC at the Head of the Charles. Placing in the top 10 is proof that, with hard work, North Bay has the ability to be competitive on the national stage.”

The men’s youth four with coxswain (Murphy Stearns, 14, Casa Grande High; Miko Brown, 17 Petaluma High; Logan MacKinney 17, Montgomery High; Tristin VanDerlind, 17, Petaluma High; and Daniel Forsman, 16, Petaluma High) also started in the far back of the field in the 74th spot, and moved forward to 27th out of 85 entries.

Both boats, by virtue of placing in the top 50% of the field, earned automatic bids to compete in the race next year.

“Both boats put in fantastic performances at the Charles. Our goal going in was to move up and qualify for next year. They both exceeded that standard and bring home a huge amount of energy to the rest of the squad in California,” said Whalen.

Last weekend, the entire squad traveled to Rancho Cordova to compete in what has become the largest fall race on the West Coast, the Head of the American on Lake Natoma. It was the first time for the entire squad to test their training, and the first time the novice squads had the opportunity to race against other clubs. It was also one of two fall races for the North Bay Masters squad.

Eleven boats competed the 5,000-meter time-trial course in seven different events. Highlights of the weekend included a top-10 finish for the women’s varsity 8+ (9th), an 11th out of 39 for the boys varsity four, rowing the same lineup as the Charles entry, and, to cap off the day’s racing, the women’s varsity four, again in the same lineup as Charles, winning its event in a blazing 20:01. It marks the first victory at the event in North Bay juniors’ history.

“It was a great two weeks of racing for the club,” said Whalen. “The kids have been working incredibly hard, and they hit all of the training goals and time standards we established for the first two regattas. I am excited to see this group of kids progress through the season into spring racing.”

North Bay wraps up the season on Nov. 10 at Head of the Lagoon in Foster City.

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