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Sunday Finals Set in the Youth National Championships

by Courtney Fritts, courtney@usrowing.org | Jun 08, 2013
OAK RIDGE, Tenn. – Chris Wales docked his single. He had just won the men’s youth single semifinals and knew he was headed to the final in his event on Sunday.
OAK RIDGE, Tenn. – Chris Wales docked his boat. He had just won his semifinal in the men's youth single sculls and knew he was headed to the Sunday final.

Unlike some of his competitors, he docked alone, lifted his single alone, mounted it on his shoulder and bent to carry his oars, all alone. He congratulated the winner of the women’s single semifinals, Cicely Madden, as he walked to his trailer, his head held high.

With the fastest seeded time for Sunday’s finals, Wales is looking to become champion of the men’s youth single sculls for the second year in a row. He will be one of 108 athletes who will be seeking a national title on the final day of the 2013 USRowing Youth National Championships on Melton Hill Lake in Oak Ridge, Tenn., in the 18 featured events.

After two solid days of racing, the field of 1,585 competitors has been narrowed down to those who have made it through to the championship races. This is the second time Wales was in this position. He was here last year. And he won.

“My goal for the final is definitely to win - a repeat of last year would be nice,” Wales said. “(Narragansett Boat Club’s Chase Buchholz) won the second semifinal and is going to be really tough. It’s going to be a fun race and I’m not sure I’m going to be able to race all these high-level guys all in the same race ever again. I’m really looking forward to it, but I’m also very anxious because I want to make sure I can hold the title.”

Of the six in his race tomorrow, two of them were also in the final last year.  Ridgewood High School Crew’s Anthony Criscitiello finished third and Orange County Rowing Association’s Matthew Scholl finished fifth.

“It was pretty tough with the slight headwind,” Wales said of his semifinal. “I was definitely getting pushed by Max Ferguson from Miami - I was down for the first 1250, but I just kept in my rhythm and stuck with my training and then I just started moving through and it was nice to come out on top.”

Holding a title is nothing new to winner of her semifinal heat in the women’s single, Boston based Community Rowing Inc.’s Cicely Madden, who won a silver medal in the women’s quad at the world junior championships last summer and will be facing Y Quad City’s Elizabeth Sharis, who was also in the world junior quad.

Sharis won silver in the women’s single in this event in 2012; Madden finished third.

In the women’s lightweight youth eight, Oakland Strokes, the defending national champions, lost to Princeton National Rowing Association-Mercer Juniors by a bow ball, setting up another fast final. Although Oakland may not have had PNRA in its minds in the women’s lightweight eight, it definitely had Marin Rowing Association in mind in the women’s youth eight semi-finals.

The defending champion in the women’s youth eight, Oakland lost by two seconds to Marin in semifinals this afternoon. Marin finished with a time of 6:51.26.

Marin head coach, Sandy Armstrong, said how proud she was of her women’s eight after they finished the race.

“Oakland and I are such great rivals,” Armstrong said. “It’s always a challenge with them and we had others in that race that I knew were going to step up, such as the Cincinnati Junior Rowing Club, the Green Lake Crew and the Sarasota Crew - they are all great crews.

“Because we never get to race each other, it’s a great place to come to be challenged and tested. Everything here is an unknown and I’m so proud of the racing these girls have done. But it isn’t over yet.”

Marin and Oakland will also face off in the men’s youth eight on Sunday after Marin finished first in its semifinal and Oakland finished second in the next semifinal.

The men’s eight final will consist of Marin, Sarasota Crew, Oakland, Long Beach Junior Crew, Central Catholic Crew and Sammamish Rowing Association.

“Nobody knows until the buzzer goes off at the end of the final,” Armstrong said. “The level of junior rowing in this country has gone up, so there is more depth and it’s more challenging and fun and I love it.”

Racing will resume on Sunday at 8:00 a.m. for finals A, B and C for each of the 18 events.

For complete event information visit, http://www.usrowing.org/Events/YouthNationals.aspx.

For more 2013 Youth National Championships news and features, visit http://www.usrowing.org/Events/YouthNationals/2013YNCPress.aspx.

Saturday semifinals and Sunday finals will be broadcast live on USRowing’s You Tube channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/usrowingorg.

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’s official suppliers include Vespoli, WinTech, Filippi, Croker Oars, Rudy Project, Concept2, Nielsen Kellerman, and Ludus Tours. USRowing also receives generous support from the National Rowing Foundation and its corporate sponsors and partners ANXeBusiness Corp, EMCVenues, Connect-A-Dock, JanSport, Rudy Project and Boathouse Sports. For more information, visit www.usrowing.org. The USRowing National Team program relies on strong partnerships to enable continued success. New opportunities exist to support the teams through the next quadrennial, culminating with the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. America Rows, which supports diversity in rowing and the USRowing adaptive programs also benefit from corporate support. Free basic membership and championship level membership to USRowing is available and encouraged. For more information, please contact Beth Kohl at beth@usrowing.org.
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