Standing on shore following a fifth-place finish at Saturday's Darrell Winslow Regatta on the Occoquan, the girls of Woodbridge's varsity eight boat spoke with disappointment. Their day, as full of promise as the sky was with sunshine, did not go as planned.
Midway through the race, with the Vikings fighting for third and surging, five seat Molly Welte's oar cuff dislodged, and she was unable to row a full stroke. Then, with about 150 meters remaining, their misfortune continued. Welte "caught a crab" -- her oar got caught in the water between strokes, slowing the boat down greatly -- and the Vikings fell well off the pace, finishing in 7 minutes 12.8 seconds. Robinson won in 6:47, and Hylton finished sixth (7:14.4).
Moreover, crew members from a couple of schools, including Woodbridge, said the race got off to a disorderly start. Race officials "didn't line us all up at the start line, and we weren't even in our lane when they started us," junior Amanda Thomas said. "So we were behind everyone else [at the start]. The first few strokes we basically had to turn the boat around."
A stiff headwind made rowing difficult -- "our boat was pretty wobbly for the first 500 meters," Thomas said -- and produced much slower times than in past races. At the Smokey Jacobs competition the week before on the Occoquan, the Vikings took second to Robinson in 5:24 -- nearly two minutes faster.
The Woodbridge boys' varsity eight made Saturday's final but finished sixth. The Vikings were rowing without senior All-Met Chris Richbourg, who is out with an injury in his rib cage area. At Smokey Jacobs, the Woodbridge boys finished first, edging Washington-Lee by four-tenths of a second.
Indians Girls' Quad Four Wins
The Gar-Field girls' quad four boat (each rower has two oars, instead of one, and there is no coxswain) defeated Jeb Stuart to win April 5 at the Smokey Jacobs Regatta, but key rower Katie Rice missed last weekend's Winslow regatta, and the Indians finished a distant third behind Pennsylvania schools Conestoga and North Allegheny.
Junior Letha Yeary said the foursome "definitely needs to work on power" while another of the boat's members, junior Jessica Overman, pointed to technique. "We need to slow our slide down," she said.
With two victories this season and the return of Rice for this weekend's Al Urquia Regatta, Yeary and Overman are setting their sights on the Virginia Scholastic championships April 26.
"Were feeling really confident that we can win that one," Yeary said.
Potomac Boys, Girls Take Third
Potomac's varsity four boys' and girls' boats each finished third at the Smokey Jacobs Regatta, with the boys crossing in 5:40.5 (30 seconds behind winner West Potomac) and the girls clocking 6:22.6 (10 seconds behind winner W.T. Woodson).
Last Saturday at the Winslow, the boys -- led by sophomore Mike Springfield -- placed sixth behind winner Mathews. The girls, led by senior Charise Arrellano, also took sixth place, with Mathews again finishing first.