Newport Sea Base Rowing, in only its second year of competition, is sending nine of its junior rowers to the US Rowing Youth National Championships. The Men’s Varsity Lightweight 8+ finished second and Women’s 1X finished first last weekend at the US Rowing Youth Southwest Championships on Lake Natoma in Gold River. According to a US Rowing official, this is only the second time that a second year program has sent a boat to the National Championships. And with two boats qualifying, Newport Sea Base set a new standard.
James Long-Lerno, the Newport Sea Base head coach, was very proud of the showing. “We’re only in our second year as a club and commanding the presence that we did is somewhat of a Cinderella story. Traditionally no club does so well in their second year, let alone wins races,” said Long-Lerno. “We medaled in others and qualified varsity boats for the National Championships. We’re a relatively new club that had a great showing.”
Kendall Fearnley earned the first spot at Nationals with a dominating win in the Women’s 1X, which is the single scull event. Cristina Morcom coaches the Newport Sea Base Varsity Women’s crew said Fearnley has been invited to the US Junior National Team tryout camp and has recently made great improvement . “I was so proud of Kendall because she has always had the ability to win, but in the past month she has finally found her rhythm in increasing her boat speed and stamina to help her secure the victory.”
The Men’s Varsity Lightweight 8+ crew of Jake Sliker, Rex Kathkart, Alex Green, Phil Bradburne, Elisha Cameron, Matt Clarkson, Jake Green and Evan Ilkcagla was coxed by Bella Lutz. Long-Lerno says the Southwest competition is often as tough as Nationals and he’s confident in the crew’s ability. “We definitely have our work cut out for us to put ourselves into the top position at the National Championships. Our club is new and small so we don’t have the quantity of athletes that our competition has. This drives us to focus on each individual maximizing their performance and potential.”
Newport Sea Base has more novice than varsity rowers and they had considerable success with each of their competing crews advancing to the finals. And in those finals, the Men’s 4+ of Elisha Cameron, Spencer Ewanick, Griffin Burke, Ben Carfano coxed by Grace Wathen won silver. The bronze medal Women’s 4+ was coxed by Izzy Cooper with Claire Cannon, Isabel Burton, Claire Mahaffey and Holly Ulicki.
The regional competition featured nearly 600 boats from 38 clubs from California, Arizona and Utah participating in 36 different events. US Rowing holds six regional championships. The 2016 Youth National Championships will be held June 10-12 in West Windsor, New Jersey.
More photos from the Southwest Regional Championships can be found at seabaserowing.org.