RR is coming up on its first birthday, but before we get to all that, it's time for the first annual RoRys – our picks for the most outstanding performances and influential people in our sport for the 2010-2011 season. Since we cover three tiers of racing on RR, the RoRys will be a three-day event. We are going to give out RoRys for the Junior, Collegiate, and Elite levels, and today's RoRys go to the top Junior programs, coaches, and athletes, with two special categories for 'Race of the Year,' and 'Breakout Performance of the Year.' And so, the RoRys go to...
RoRys for Programs of the Year
Accomplished goal of winning M8+ and LM8+ in the same year, first time since Newport AC did it in 2009, only the second time it has been done. Undefeated the throughout the entire season, from the Fall through the Spring and sent a couple guys to the Junior National Team. Deep, talented and very well-coached program. Also, we believe that this is the first time that a team has won both the Charles and Youth Nationals in the same season.
Connecticut Boat Club Women
Undefeated in the W8+ for the last two years, except for the final at the 2011 Youth Nationals, where they picked up a Bronze medal, after the Grinalds sisters had doubled up in the pair -- an event that CBC won for the second year in a row. In addition to the win in the 2- and bronze in the 8+, CBC also finished 8th in the 4+ and finished 9th in the 4x at Youth Nationals to showcase their depth. Though they don't have more people than every other team in the country, they have high quality girls from top to bottom, and they were well represented on Junior National Team. Great coach in Liz Trond who will be sending a large majority of her rowers to top Division I rowing programs.
RoRys for Coaches of the Year
Women's Coach of the Year: Sandy Armstrong, MRA
The Marin W8+ was excellent -- managed racing and regatta very well at Youth Nationals. Armstrong is running a fantastic program. Though they didn't win against CBC in San Diego or in the heat on the first day of Youth Nationals, they won when it counted most, proving that what matters is not who wins most, but who wins last. Very impressive performance and showed great preparation by the coach. Clearly a very driven, focused, technically sound crew. Sandy also went on to coach the Junior National Team W8+ this Summer in Eton.
Men's Coach of the Year: Graham Willoughby, MRA
First time Marin has won the M8+, and only the second time on record that the same program has won both the heavy and lightweight eights at Youth Nationals. Marin absolutely dominated the entire season and proved they were on a mission to after coming up short in 2010.
RoRy for Race of the Year
Marin Men – Head of the Charles 2010
Yes, Marin again. The Marin youth men's eight started in 69th place, and took first in the event by eight seconds, ahead of two-time defending champion Eton College and Everett, who started 1st and 3rd respectively. Marin also set a new course record in the process. Fantastic performance from a talented young coxswain to navigate the narrow river, making a key move going through Eliot Bridge, where he dropped out stroke and six to better his angle in order to overtake an opposing crew and provide his rowers with the best line possible through to the finish.
RoRy for Breakthrough Performance of the Year
James Madison, Paul Allbright
James Madison High School Girl's Varsity 8+ led by 23 year old coach Paul Allbright, in just the 9th year of the program's existence. What may be most impressive is that this was only the 4th 2000 meter race this scholastic program had ever undertaken, having raced 1500 meters all year on the scholastic circuit. After finishing only 5th at Scholastic Nationals, it was a huge breakthrough for this young program, whose most talented rowers were just Freshmen and Sophomores. Look out for big things from James Madison in the next two years as we expect them to be in serious contention to win it all in 2012 after only graduating stroke seat Katie Lawless from the 2011 boat.
RoRys for Athletes of the Year
Female Athlete of the Year: Mia Croonquist, Vashon Island
Immense talent in only her 2nd year of rowing after starting as an 8th grader. She finished 2nd in the JW4x at the 2011 Youth Nationals and then went on to become a Junior World Champion in JW4- in Eton. She has gone 7:07 on the erg for 2k, is 6 feet tall and is only 14 years old! She will be taking this year away from rowing and will be attending boarding school in Kona, Hawaii. Kudos to former Washington National Champion oarsman Steve Full, who was Mia's high school coach at Vashon Island Rowing Club for developing such a top talent. Full is now the women's frosh coach at Georgetown.
Male Athlete of the Year: Zach Hershberger, Los Gatos
Massive talent from Los Gatos, CA who became a Junior World Champion in his first year rowing (2010), winning a gold medal at the JM8+ at World's and rowed in a Los Gatos 8 that placed 3rd at Youth Nationals in 2010. This year he went under 6:10 for 2k on the erg and finished 5th at the Junior World Championships in the JM8+. He will be 'taking his talents' up north to Seattle to row for Mike Callahan and Luke McGee's Washington Huskies.
Congratulations to all the RoRy winners at the Junior level. Tomorrow we will hand out the RoRys for intercollegiate rowing, with the RoRys for elite rowing to come on Friday -- check back to see who takes home top honors!