National Champions Made on the Banks of Mercer Lake

by Sarah Marshall, | Jun 11, 2016
Semifinals and finals were contested and champions were made at the 2016 USRowing Youth National Championships on Saturday. Approximately 70 athletes donned gold medals with all 18 a finals raced directly after the finish of semifinals.

WEST WINDSOR, N.J. -- For many of today’s athletes, the short break between the morning’s semifinals and the early afternoon finals meant a quick nap, maybe a snack and hopefully a good chance to stretch before hopping back into their shell to compete for a national title. Seattle Rowing Club’s Elsa Andrews (Seattle, Wash.) did not have such a luxury. 

Coming off the water after taking the top time in the lightweight women’s double sculls firstimg_8040_1024semifinal, Andrews quickly switched boats to cox the SRC lightweight men’s youth four. Andrews was able to finish her second semifinal just in time to climb back into her doubles shell to claim the title in the lightweight double in the early afternoon with a time of 7:35.747. 

“It was very exciting to win today,” said Andrews. “We were down at the beginning but we were able to move back up and win.”

As a seventh grader in 2014, Andrews called the SRC four to a USRowing Youth National Championship title to make the medal she won this afternoon the second to her collection. An impressive number as the young lady is only a freshman in high school. 

Semifinals and finals were raced and championships made at the 2016 USRowing Youth National Championships on Saturday. Approximately 70 athletes donned gold medals with all 18 a finals raced directly after the finish of semifinals. 

For some of those athletes, the quick turnaround was something that was learned, not taught. For Narragansett Boat Club’s Eliza Kallfelz (Jamestown, R.I.), it could be considered a family tradition.

At the 2015 USRowing Youth National Championships, Eliza’s older sister made waves during the Sunday morning finals as she won gold in the women’s single sculls before racing back to the dock to race in the double sculls with her sister. The duo would go on to claim gold, and Emily was on hand this morning to watch her sister attempt to replicate the feat in 2016. 

“She was right on the sideline,” said Kallfelz. “Even though I couldn’t see her I knew she was there and that meant a lot to me.” 

The younger Kallfelz would keep her family name on the trophy as the sculler crossed the finish line in a time of 8:06.308. 


Norcal Crew (Redwood City, CA) found success in the men’s four final, finishing first with a time of 6:37.203. 

“It’s a real mix of emotions,” said Norcal Crew coxswain Thomas Fuller. “We train for nine months and we get an hour of race time so to have that all pay off at the end with not just the the physical reward but also mentally knowing that we accomplished this feat. We’re the best in the nation at this. It’s really rewarding.”

For Oakland Strokes (Oakland, CA), Saturday came with high expectations which were seen through as the men’s eight defended their 2015 national title and the women’s four took gold. The Strokes lightweight men’s eight placed second in their final, taking home the silver. 

Notably, this was the largest showing from the California crew at a USRowing Youth Nationals, bringing a total of four crews. 

“It’s wonderful,” said Oakland Strokes Head Coach Brian de Regt.  “Last year we brought a four and an eight. The four won the B Final but they were all heavyweights and our lightweights didn’t even make the final at Southwest Regionals last year. Then this year, they [the lightweights] won Southwest Youth Championships and then got second here,” said Oakland Strokes head coach Brian de Regt, “the whole program is getting stronger.”

In total, 54 a,b, and c finals were raced at the largest USRowing Youth National Championships. 

For a full list of results from this weekend’s racing, click here.

NEW Photo Site! Check out event photos of the 2016 USRowing Youth National Championships and USRowing Graduation Ceremony on USRowing's new site: Use coupon code YNC2016PROMO to receive a 15% off coupon code for your first purchase.

Be Social: Join the Youth Nationals conversation with @USRowing on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat with #USRYouthNats and #MeetYouAtMercer. Check out the May Madness blog updated with daily highlights here.

Post-Race Video: Due to technical difficulties with the venue internet speed, live-streaming of the event is not possible. USRowing will post race video of semifinals and finals on its YouTube channel.

About USRowing
USRowing is a nonprofit organization recognized by the United States Olympic Committee as the governing body for the sport of rowing in the United States. USRowing has 85,000 individual members and 1,300 member organizations, offering rowing programs for all. USRowing receives generous support from the National Rowing Foundation and its corporate sponsors and partners. For more information, contact: USRowing Communications, (609) 751-0710,

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