The Everett Rowing Association will forever be the first name on this list.
No matter how Everett’s Men’s Under-16 8+ boat performs at Youth Nationals, it will always be able to call itself the first ever Northwest Region champion in its division.
The Everett Rowing Association has three boats set to compete at the USRowing Youth National Championships, which take place Thursday through Sunday in Sarasota, Florida, and the Men’s U16 8+ boat is leading the way, having blazed a trail across Vancouver Lake.
“It’s very cool to be heading to nationals,” team member Benjamin Ewer, an eighth grader at North Shore Christian Academy, said prior to practice last Thursday. “It’s hasn’t clicked that we’re leaving Monday, but it’s exciting.”
Everett’s Women’s U17 4+ and Women’s Youth 2 also qualified for Youth Nationals and will compete this weekend. But it’s the Men’s U16 8+ that enters nationals as not just a regional champion, but the first ever regional champ.
This is the first year USRowing has offered a U16 division for nationals. In previous years Youth Nationals offered two classifications: Youth and Lightweight. Both classifications were for rowers under the age of 19, with the lightweight division being for men weighing less than 150 pounds and women weighing less than 130 pounds.
However, last September USRowing announced it was scrapping youth lightweight events at its regattas, citing “the health risks of managing weight for developing adolescents.” The move also decreased the logistics required for putting on events, as scales are no longer needed for any of the participants. The U17 division was introduced on a trial basis at the 2021 Youth Nationals, and this year there are U17, U16 and U15 divisions.
So not only has Everett already made history regionally, it has a chance to do so nationally as well.
Everett, which is a small club, often sends boats to nationals, but usually isn’t among the championship contenders. However, Everett’s results at the Northwest Youth Championship on May 20-22 in Vancouver, Washington, say the men’s U16 8+ boat has a chance to be among the top placers. Everett blew the field away during the time trial, with it’s time of 6 minutes, 33.730 seconds over the 2,000-meter course besting the rest of the field by more than 22 seconds. Then in the final Everett again left the rest of the field behind, pulling ahead mid-race to finish in 6:57.412, which was more than 18 seconds better than its nearest competitor.
“We weren’t thinking we would do that well,” said team member Cody Carpenter, a freshman at Snohomish High School. “I thought we could medal, I just didn’t think we would finish first.
“I was kind of nervous going down there, but I definitely thought we performed well,” Carpenter added. “We improved our time a lot, I feel like we all just upped our game.”
Everett heads into nationals among the top five boats in its division based on times from regional championships. This is despite the team, which is made up of eighth and ninth graders from various Snohomish County schools, consisting solely of first-year rowers.
“I don’t want to sound cocky and say we’re going to win, but I feel like we can definitely make it into the grand final,” Ewer said.