Tuesday, March 3, 2015

2015 Crash-B Sprints: Junior Women's Field Steals the Show

The calm before the storm at Agganis Arena, Boston (Photo: A. Gutierrez)
While the there was no shortage of drama in the men's open final at the 2015 Crash-B Sprints World Indoor Rowing Championship, the deepest field, and most impressive performances overall, came from the junior women. I hesitate to say junior, because, as has seemingly become the norm at Crash-Bs, there was nothing 'junior' about these performances. And while there was one result that absolutely topped them all—the phenomenal 6:30.2 from Greece's Sophia Asoumanaki (roughly 13 seconds faster than open women's champion Kaisa Pajusalu of Estonia, who won Crash-Bs for the third time on Sunday)—the field was the deepest in Boston as well, with no fewer than seven women under seven minutes. (Not that we need to let any NCAA recruiters know that stat.)



Among those seven women were two representing Y Quad Cities—an impressive young club guided by Harvard alum and Olympian Peter Sharis, who has been featured on RR before (recipient of the prestigious RoRy Award for Junior Sculling Coach of the Year), and whose daughter Elizabeth placed fifth overall in a time of 6:58.4, two places back of her teammate Emily Delleman (third place in 6:52.8). Coming in a distant second, albeit with an excellent time, was back-to-back winner in 2013 and 2014 Dana Moffat of Fayetteville-Manlius H.S. Crew, who beat her 2014 mark by 0.3 seconds, recording a 6:48.7. Other sub-seven finishers were fourth-place Rosemary Brown of Bainbridge Island Rowing Club (6:53.4), sixth-place Grace McGinley of Saugatuck (6:59.1), and Team Germany's Chistin Stohner in seventh overall (6:59.5).

As in 2014, the podium finishers were all under 6:10 in the junior men's open event, with a very impressive 6:02.6 turned in by Brennan Wertz of Marin Rowing Association for first place overall—no doubt something that the top junior men's programs on the West Coast will take note of going into spring racing season. Taking second place just back of Wertz was Andrew Marsh of Amadeusz Rowing Academy in 6:04.3, with third place going to Andrew Leroux of Sarasota Scullers in 6:06.3.



While Riverside Boat Club's Erin Roberts was certainly impressive in the lightweight women's open event, posting a 7:00 for a 23+ second victory over the field, the race of the day might have been the junior lightweight women's  event, which saw two athletes battle it out, stroke for stroke, all the way to the line. When the dust settled, Xaley Yousey of OKC Riversport just edged Lena Reuss of Team Germany with an epic sprint, in a time of 7:17.8 to Reuss' 7:18.1.

A photo posted by Brown University Men's Crew (@brown_mens_crew) on

Also worthy of a praise was the performance of Brown Men's Crew athletes in Boston, sweeping the collegiate/U23 podium thanks to Whiting Tennis (5:54.9), Brooks Reavill (5:59.7), and freshman Grant (aka Gregory?) Bitler (6:00.9), shown above.


And, of course, the heavyweight men's final featured a sprint for the ages. Cuban Olympian Angel Fournier Rodriguez perfectly executed when it counted, moving past Australian Olympian and Princeton alum Sam Loch in the second half of the race and punishing the erg in the final 500m, reportedly recording splits as low as 1:19 before the test was over (indeed, Rodriguez's 500m splits were 1:29.2, 1:27.6, 1:25.2, and 1:23.9 on the way to a 5:45.9—the fastest time at Crash-Bs since 2005, when Pavel Shurmei of Belarus edged RR interviewee George Bridgewater in a time of 5:43.20).



Talk about 'dropping the hammer.'

Congrats to all those who raged in Boston over the weekend! For complete results, please visit the official website the Crash-B Sprints, as well as Concept2 for race replays and splits.

-RR

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