The Gar-Field girls' lightweight four turned in a gold-medal performance Saturday at the National Capital Area Scholastic Rowing Association championships on the Occoquan River, beating Virginia champion W.T. Woodson by a full five seconds.
Not a bad finish considering it was only the Indians' third race together.
Gar-Field formed the lightweight four two weeks ago so all the senior rowers would be removed from the varsity eight, allowing that boat to qualify as a junior boat for the Scholastic Rowing Association of America championships this weekend in Orlando.
In the four's first race, the Virginia Scholastic championships on May 8, Gar-Field took silver, finishing four seconds behind Woodson and four seconds ahead of third-place Forest Park.
But after opting out of the Stotesbury Cup Regatta two weekends ago to gain an extra Saturday on the Occoquan, the Indians turned the tables on Woodson, taking NCASRA gold in a time of 6 minutes 3.8 seconds.
Woodson finished in 6:08.1, followed by Forest Park (6:16.4).
"We went into the race pretending we weren't going to win but thinking we could," senior Cassie Haskell said Saturday. "We were close to Woodson at states, and [today] we finally beat them."
Gar-Field Coach Jeannette Warbritton said the lightweight four will stay intact for next week's national championships, the last race of the season.
"We're not going to change a winning boat," she said after her team's victory. "All season they've been really dedicated and are always willing to work."
The boat members -- Haskell; her sister Emily, a sophomore; senior Maureen Maughan; junior Beth Zagrobelny and sophomore Karen Costa -- agreed that the change worked out for the best and said they hoped to turn their gold-medal performance into successful showing this weekend.
"We're hoping to medal at nationals, but our first goal is to make it to the heats," CassieHaskell said.
Forest Park, the bronze medalist in the girls' lightweight four, could not catch Gar-Field despite coming off the school's first semifinal appearance at Stotesbury two weekends ago.
In their first season as a four, the Bruins turned in three straight first-place finishes at the beginning of the season but finished third behind Gar-Field in their last two races on the Occoquan. Still, Forest Park rowers called the season a success.
"This was the best season we've ever had," senior Emma Wimberley said Saturday. "The four came together like magic."
Hylton Girls' Quad Triumphs
Hylton's girls' quad (5:52.1) earned a gold medal in its final Saturday, beating Stuart (5:58.7) and Gar-Field (6:10.5). . . .
Hylton's boys' quad (5:17.1) turned in a silver-medal performance, finishing second to Christchurch (5:10.8) . . . .
The Woodbridge girls earned a bronze medal in the four-team lightweight eight final (5:24.0), behind T.C. Williams (5:11.0) and McLean (5:13.0).