ASHLAND, Ore. – Months of hard work has led to a special moment for four Rogue Valley rowers. This week, they traveled to Florida to compete against thousands of other rowers.
At the time many of us are thinking about starting our day, these teen athletes have already been out on Emigrant Lake for hours.
“The amount of work you’ve put in and the amount of time you’ve put in and the sweat you’ve put in is tremendous for those six-seven minutes that you get to actually do what you love doing,” Rogue Rowing Head Coach, Rick Brown said.
After training hard for six months, those four Rogue Rowing athletes are flying across the country to compete for the 2019 U.S. Rowing Youth National Championship title.
“It’s full of excitement because its the first time in such a long time that rogue rowing has done this, especially with the juniors. The program started out so small and we’ve built it up after four years and are now going to nationals,” Rower, Analiese Kirschel said.
This year, it’s not just one team going, it’s two.
“We definitely push each other to go faster,” Rower, Rowan Wallace said.
“It’s super fun to have another boat out there and to not be in this just with the two of us, and to have more teammates to push each other,” Rower, Sam Powell said.
Sam Powell and Rowan Wallace only started rowing last year, but they say their bond is their power.
“It’s a commitment, you just got to commit to each other and its really hard one on one focused training,” Powell said.
For Kate Vasey and Analiese Kirschel, rowing brought them together. They made a connection out on the water, and now they rarely go a day without one another.
“That’s really important for rowing is that we do everything together and like we’re one person,” Vasey said.
Nearly 1500 athletes, 350 crews, representing over 150 teams across America will be racing for the coveted title.
But, these crews hope their bond can set them apart from the competition.
“That trust is built not only with time on the water but time off the water,” Brown said. “The relationship becomes a really good one and close one, and it’s been great to see them become great friends in an outside the boat.”
The two Rogue Rowing crews have already competed this weekend. The girls’ crew finished 22nd in the country and the boys will race again Sunday morning at 6:20 a-m for their final standing.
Devin Gooden graduated from Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication with a Master’s degree in Sports Journalism.
She has spent most of her life in Atlanta, Georgia and received her undergraduate degree from the University of Georgia in Business Management.
When she’s not reporting, Devin practices yoga, reads thriller novels and loudly cheers for her beloved Georgia Bulldawgs.