Everett boat places third at youth national championships

The Everett Rowing Association placed two boats in grand finals on Sunday, and the women’s four reached the medals podium with a third-place finish at the USRowing Youth National Championships on Melton Hill Lake in Oak Ridge, Tenn.

Also reaching the grand final was the men’s eight, which finished fifth. That matched the best showing for an Everett men’s eight at nationals, previously done in 2007.

The Everett women’s four led early in the race, slipped to fourth, then rallied in the final few yards to nab third place by a little more than half a second. Everett had a time of 7 minutes, 28.318 seconds for the 2,000-meter course. The winning boat finished in 7:22.175.

“It was really exciting,” said rower Missy Fruetel, a senior at Mukilteo’s Kamiak High School. “It’s what we all worked for this year, to go to nationals. And then to place at nationals was even more than we expected.”

The Everett four has won medals at other regattas, Fruetel said, but to win a bronze medal at nationals “is probably the most meaningful we’ve ever had. It’s definitely emotional and really exciting. Today was really an emotional whirlwind and we’re all real happy.”

“Knowing that we’re third in the nation is a great feeling,” added teammate Hannah Aikman, a Lake Stevens senior. “All these teams are the best in their regions. They’re all great.

“Everybody was pushing to get a medal at nationals, and knowing that we got a medal I’m so excited,” she added. “I don’t think I had a smile off my face the whole time we were coming off the race course.”

The others in the women’s four were Emily Wayland from Stanwood, Ashley Brown from Kamiak and coxswain Delaney Goetz from Everett.

The men’s eight finished in 6:17.465, about 13 seconds behind the winning crew. The Everett team included coxswain Charles Forrest (Everett Community College), Beau Skalley (Archbishop Murphy), Alex Walczak (Archbishop Murphy), Phillip Walczak (Archbishop Murphy), Sam Helms (Snohomish), Alex Engel (Snohomish), Chris Archer (Anacortes), Eric Engel (Snohomish) and Cole Borseth (Archbishop Murphy).

Two other Everett boats rowed in consolation finals. The women’s pair of Holly Hudson (Glacier Peak) and Hailey Hedlund (Kamiak) finished second, eighth overall.

And the men’s lightweight eight was third, ninth overall. The boat included coxswain Amber Cary (Archbishop Murphy), Ryan Foster (Arlington), Jonah Srb (Lynnwood), Logan Tennis (Kamiak), Conrad Forde (Archbishop Murphy), Dan Olson (Everett), Keith van der Meulen (Kamiak), Grayson Helms (Snohomish) and Isaac Linder (Everett).

Everett Rowing Association director Pasha Spencer called the club’s showing at nationals “a success.” A year ago, she pointed out, “we didn’t send any athletes from the women’s team (to nationals) and this year we got a bronze in the four. And our pair was eighth in the country, so that’s pretty good.

“On the men’s side, one of our goals was to make the grand final (in the eight) and we did that. We didn’t get a medal, but we did finish in the grand final.”

By matching the best showing by an Everett men’s eight at nationals, “it just shows how competitive, how hard it is,” Spencer added. “This is everybody in the nation, so there’s a lot of competition.”

The Lake Stevens Rowing Club was represented at nationals by Nicholas and Michael Johnston, who won the C final in the men’s double, placing 13th overall.

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