U.S. Sets Record on Final Day at 2015 World Rowing Junior Championships

by Brett Johnson | Aug 08, 2015
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The women’s four won the gold medal to highlight a record day for the U.S. Junior National Team at the 2015 World Rowing Junior Championships at Lagoa Stadium in Rio de Janeiro.
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The women’s four won the gold medal to highlight a record day for the U.S. Junior National Team at the 2015 World Rowing Junior Championships at Lagoa Stadium in Rio de Janeiro.

In addition to the four, the men’s eight won silver, while the women’s pair, women’s quadruple sculls and women’s eight won bronze medals, giving the U.S. a team record five medals at the junior world championships. Germany won the medal count with 11, while the U.S. and Italy finished second with five medals each.

After finishing second last year, the U.S. women’s four of Kaitlyn Kynast (Ridgefield, 15WRJC W4- Medal 2 WebConn.), Dana Moffat (Manlius, N.Y.), Marlee Blue (Seattle, Wash.) and Katy Gillingham (Seattle, Wash.) came back to win the gold medal in Rio. With Blue and Moffat back from last year’s silver-medal crew, the U.S. took the lead off the start and continued to build its advantage through the 1,500-meter mark. In the heat, the U.S. crew fell off in the final 500 meters, but in the final, the four was able to keep Germany at bay over the last quarter of the race, winning by 1.15 seconds.

“In the last heat, we kind of fell apart in the last 500, and I think crossing that 500 today, we knew we weren’t going to let that happen again,” Kynast said.

The U.S. finished with a time of 7:09.04, with Germany clocking a 7:10.19. New Zealand won a close race for bronze, finishing more than 11 seconds behind to other medalists.

“Right before we started, I was thinking to myself, ‘You’re going to die, but it’s worth it,’” said Moffat. “We executed our race plan perfectly. We didn’t expect to be so far ahead so early, and we just held it there. We were staying just a little ahead of Germany most of the way. We pulled ahead a bit, but they fought back. We ended up the same margin we started with. We were pretty consistent and that’s what we were focusing on most in this race.”

The men’s eight of coxswain Ethan Ruiz (Newport Beach, Calif.), Mark Levinson (San 15WRJC M8+ Medal 2 WebFrancisco, Calif.), Hunter Johnson (Winnetka, Ill.), Cameron Chater (Berkeley, Calif.), Ethan Seder (Berkeley, Calif.), Charles Watt (Acton, Mass.), Andrew Gaard (Madison, Wis.), Justin Best (Kennett Square, Pa.) and James Palmer (Rye, N.Y.) took it out fast and led the field through the 1,500-meter mark before holding off Germany to claim the silver medal. The U.S. held just a bow-ball advantage over Germany and Great Britain after 500 meters and a few seats at the midway point of the race. The U.S. continued to build its advantage over those two crews during the third 500, while The Netherlands was chasing down the rest of the field. In the final 500 meters, the Dutch boat maintained that momentum to overtake the American crew. Germany and Italy threw down a strong challenge on the U.S., but it wasn’t enough to catch the Americans for silver.

“We started off really clean,” Ruiz said. “We’ve been kind of worried about the side wind, but once we realized it was a crosswind, it was a lot to our advantage. We just really hammered in on a solid rhythm all the way down the course.”

The Netherlands clocked a 5:51.74, followed by the U.S. in a 5:53.89. Germany held off Italy for the bronze.

“They executed very well,” said coach Casey Galvanek. “We thought that second was a place that we could attain, so we went out with that plan. We thought it would be against Germany, which was not the case. The Netherlands had a very well executed race. They are an exceptional crew, and it’s nice to be able to compete with them. We went out and executed the start. We’d been working on those because when we first got together, they were terrible. It’s been putting them out in the lead all week, which has been spectacular and given them a little bit of an edge. Today, we were hoping to hold back a little bit, but that clearly wasn’t the case. We led to the 1,500-meter mark, which was a little bit unexpected. I couldn’t be prouder. It’s exciting to see kids race as maturely as they did.”

The women’s pair of Ashlyn Dawson (Annapolis, Md.) and Arianna Lee (Folsom, Calif.) 15WRJC W2- Medal 2 Webheld off Germany in the final 500 meters to win the U.S. its first medal of the day, a bronze. The U.S. boat got off the line quickly and held a slight advantage on Russia as the crews hit the 500-meter mark. The Russian boat then made a strong push to establish its lead, with China moving into second position as the crews hit the midway point of the race. In the final 500 meters, Russia pulled away from China to take the gold. Germany made a strong charge at Dawson and Lee, but the Americans met the challenge, holding them off by 0.6 seconds. Russia won with a time of 7:39.76, followed by China in a 7:41. 64. Dawson and Lee clocked a 7:42.52.

“We were up off the start, and it felt like a solid move,” Lee said. “We settled into our goal of 35-and-a-half stroke rate. We dropped it down a little in the middle because we knew the wakes were coming in. We just went for power instead of picking up the rate. Coming into the last 500, we saw Germany moving and we just went for it. We weren’t going to hand it to them when we had been beating them the entire race.”

The women’s quadruple sculls crew of Emily Kallfelz (Jamestown, R.I.), Elizabeth Sharis 15WRJC W4x Medal 2 Web(Bettendorf, Iowa), Emily Delleman (Davenport, Iowa) and Meghan Gutknecht (Guilderland, N.Y.) also won the bronze medal. Germany, Great Britain and the U.S. took the top three spots off the line and had established a clear lead on the field by the 1,000-meter mark.

“We came out with a pretty set plan,” Gutknecht said. “I think we did a good job of executing it. It was really amazing. I went to camp last year and didn’t make the team, and to come back this year and to be able to win a medal felt amazing.”

The Germans slowly pressed their advantage during the third 500, while the U.S. made a slight move to narrow the gap to the British boat. However, Great Britain met the American challenge over the final 500 meters to secure the silver medal. Germany led the race from start to finish, clocking a 6:46.87. Great Britain finished second in a 6:50.31, with the U.S. coming home in a 6:52.58.

“I think pretty well right off the bat we felt pretty good,” Delleman said about the boat’s chemistry this summer. “We all have a lot of race experience under our belts, and I think going in we had a lot of confidence within each other to pull through and pull for each other.”

The women’s eight of coxswain Hannah Malzahn (Edmond, Okla.), Shayla Lamb (Kent, 15WRJC W8+ Medal 2 WebConn.), Lindsay Noah (San Francisco, Calif.), Julia Cornacchia (Darien, Conn.), India Robinson (Berkeley, Calif.), Kailani Marchak (Long Beach, Calif.), Abigail Tarquinio (Nashville, Tenn.), Mariko Kelly (San Diego, Calif.) and Sarah Ondak (Denver, Colo.) gave the U.S. its third bronze medal of the day, passing Romania in the final 500 meters to earn a spot on the medal stand. The U.S. crew sat in fourth position for the first 1,500 meters of the race before breaking through the Romanian crew. Germany took command early and left the rest of the field to battle it out for silver and bronze.

“What I saw from my seat was our boat fighting tooth and nail ‘til the very end, and we’re extremely happy that we managed to pull ahead at the end,” Malzahn said. “It was a solid piece because we found a new level that we didn’t think we could reach before.”

The Germans clocked a 6:39.79 to win the gold medal, while Italy made a huge move in the final 500 meters to move from fifth to the silver-medal position. The U.S. finished with a time of 6:43.80.

“It was a real fight,” Robinson said. “Right off the start, we were a little bit down, but we were in the pack. Every single stroke, we were walking and trying to push ourselves into a medal position. It was the hardest race of my life, just because everyone is so good and it’s such a high standard. It was amazing to medal, especially after last year. I can’t even explain how much better it feels. Our goal was to medal, and even though we would have liked to get first or second, I can’t even comprehend that we got bronze. Through the middle of the race, I had no idea where we were, so to cross and to have Hannah say that we got a medal – it was just the most incredible feeling.”

In the men’s four with coxswain, Wyatt Harrell (Tallahassee, Fla.), Michael Cuellar (Alameda, Calif.), Pau Turina (Portland, Ore.), Pieter Quinton (Portland, Ore.) and Piers Deeth-Stehlin (Ross, Calif.) made a huge push for the medal stand over the final half of the race but ended up finishing fourth, less than a second out of the medals. The crew got off the line in sixth place and still trailed the field at the midway point of the race. However, the U.S. overtook Australia and New Zealand in the third 500 and set its focus on Turkey coming to the line. However, the Turkish crew held off the American boat by 0.94 seconds. Germany led from start to finish, winning with a time of 6:41.51. Italy finished second, followed by Turkey. The U.S. clocked a 6:46.35.

In the men’s four, Daniel Hogan (Lafayette, Calif.), Liam Corrigan (Old Lyme, Conn.), Benjamin Cohen (Allentown, Pa.) and Brock Bozzani (Long Beach, Calif.) finished fifth. The crew sat in second place after 500 meters and was in fourth, still in medal contention, at the midway point of the race. However, Germany began to pull away for the bronze medal during the second half of the race. Romania used a strong middle 1,000 meters to earn the victory in a 6:17.20. Great Britain finished second, 2.19 seconds behind. Germany won the bronze. The U.S. finished with a time of 6:24.92.

The women’s double sculls duo of Elise Beuke (Sequim, Wash.) and Isabella Strickler (Grosse Pointe, Mich.) dominated its B final, winning by nearly six seconds to take seventh place overall. Beuke and Strickler were even with South Africa as the crews passed through the 500-meter mark, but the U.S. crew made a strong push in the second 500 to take nearly a three-second lead on South Africa at the midway point of the race. Beuke and Strickler continued to walk away from the field over the next quarter of the race before cruising to an easy victory. The U.S. finished with a time of 7:22.99, with South Africa finishing in a 7:28.98. The seventh-place finish was the second best ever for a U.S. junior women’s double.

In the men’s single sculls, Andrew Morley (Seattle, Wash.) won the B final to finish seventh overall. Morley got off to a strong start, taking a lead in the first 500 meters, before the Czech Republic’s Miroslav Jech moved into first place during the second quarter of the race. Jech and Morley pulled away from the rest of the field during the middle 1,000 meters, with Jech holding the advantage as the two scullers entered the final stretch. However, Morley put on a strong sprint to win by about a length. Morley finished with a time of 7:14.98, with Jech 1.54 seconds back.

In the women’s single sculls, Eliza Kallfelz (Jamestown, R.I.) placed fourth in the B final for a 10th-place finish overall. Kallfelz sat in third place for much of the race before dropping to fourth. Croatia’s Teuta Stojakovic won the race in an 8:06.55, followed by Japan’s Chisa Daimon and Belgium’s Rachel Willaumez. Kallfelz finished with a time of 8:10.53.

The men’s pair of Oliver Bub (Westport, Conn.) and Lucas Manning (Westport, Conn.) also finished fourth in the B final for 10th-place overall. Bub and Manning sat in fifth at the midway point of the race before clocking the fastest third 500-meter split to move into third place. However, Chile was able to move past the American boat in the final 250 meters to take third. France led from start to finish, coming home in a 6:55.15. Great Britain was second. Bub and Manning clocked a 7:01.69.

For more information on the regatta, a complete roster and athlete bios, click here.

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