Girls varsity eight upsets to win title at WMIRA rowing championships


The girls varsity crew team receives their gold medals after coming in first at the Washington Metropolitan Interscholastic Rowing Association championships. The team won the regatta for the second straight year, upsetting favorite the National Cathedral School. Photo courtesy of the girls crew team.

By Ally Navarrete

When the girls varsity eight-person boat fell behind competitors in the first 500 meters of the race, the team knew they had to make their move. They found their rhythm and diligently picked up speed; their muscles were burning as they passed the boats in front of them and their boat flew across the finish line. Moments later, they threw their coxswain into the water, a tradition after winning an important race.  

This past Sunday, the girls varsity eight placed first at the Washington Metropolitan Interscholastic Rowing Association championships: a regatta comprised of the best teams in the area. Last year, the Vikes took first place, edging out teams such as B–CC and Wilson. This year the National Cathedral School Eagles, new to the WMIRA, posed a challenge with their impressive speed.

“There were a lot more nerves going into the race this year because of NCS and because we really wanted to do well,” captain Emma Busch said. “This year I feel like there were more expectations.”

Initially, the Vikes were behind the Eagles, but around the halfway point of the 1500 meter race, the team picked up speed and moved into first place. By the final 500 meters, the team had substantially increased their lead and won with a time of 5 minutes 31.8 seconds, 3.3 seconds faster than runner-up B–CC.

“During the race, I felt calm and confident,” junior Leia Till said. “The main thing I wanted to do was have a great race, but there are still things we can improve on, like timing.”

The team hopes to perfect their technique before the upcoming Stotesbury Cup on May 18 and 19. Stotesbury is one of the largest high school regattas in the country with over 50 teams competing. Last year, the Vikes placed second behind the Eagles.

“Our goal for the rest of the season is to win as much as possible and to be proud of every race,” Busch said. “This year, Whitman crew is stronger than ever, and I’m really excited for everything we can accomplish.”