Knights Make Open­ing State­ment

The Washington Post Sunday - - Sports - By Jeff Nelson

With only two re­turn­ing mem­bers in their var­sity eight boat, O’Con­nell’s girls had no idea what to ex­pect in yes­ter­day’s sea­sonopen­ing Cherry Blos­som Re­gatta.

It didn’t take long in the fi­nal, how­ever, for se­nior coxswain Marrah Galvin and se­nior stro­ker Ash­ley Gen­nings to re­al­ize that their new boat­mates — four of them sopho­mores — are go­ing to work out just fine.

“Once we got off the start and took the lead, I thought, ‘Wow, we can re­ally do this,’ ” said Gen­nings, the team cap­tain. “From there, it was just push­ing ahead.”

The Knights won the race in a time of 5 min­utes 41.10 sec­onds, more than three sec­onds ahead of sec­ond-place Na­tional Cathe­dral.

The re­gatta of­fered the chance for many boats to make an early state­ment, and O’Con­nell’s girls seized the op­por­tu­nity.

“It’s the first sign of who’s go­ing to be fast this year,” Gen­nings said.

In the boys’ var­sity eight fi­nal, St. Al­bans showed that its vet­eran group will be a threat all sea­son, fin­ish­ing in a time of 5:04.00, nearly 15 sec­onds ahead of sec­ond-place Wash­ing­ton-Lee.

The Bull­dogs have six se­nior row­ers – four back from last year – and a se­nior coxswain in Max Jawer. All of them rowed to­gether dur­ing their fresh­man sea­son, which they re­mem­ber fondly for its many vic­to­ries, and that chem­istry ap­pears well in­tact.

“As a boat, we’ve only been to­gether for a few days this year,” said Jawer. “But we’ve been re­ally good.”

In the boys’ var­sity four fi­nal, a de­pleted Wash­ing­ton-Lee squad fin­ished in 5:55:30 to win by 21⁄ sec-

2 onds over Bishop Ire­ton and St. Al­bans, which tied for sec­ond place.

Wash­ing­ton-Lee was miss­ing nine row­ers be­cause of a school band trip to Ge­or­gia, but the four­some put to­gether by Coach Derek Par­sons made a strong case for re­main­ing to­gether all sea­son.

“With that re­sult, all of the sud­den we have more op­tions than we thought we had,” Par­sons said.

The McLean girls’ var­sity four is a group of three ju­niors and one sopho­more who were to­gether all of last sea­son, go­ing un­de­feated un­til a heart­break­ing loss in the Vir­ginia state fi­nal.

Ex­pect­ing to make up for that let­down this year, they started the sea­son by win­ning yes­ter­day’s fi­nal in a time of 5:57:40, more than 32 sec­onds faster than sec­ond-place Mount Ver­non.

BY NIKKI KAHN — THE WASH­ING­TON POST

O’Con­nell’s var­sity squad, de­spite hav­ing just two re­turn­ing mem­bers, won its opener in 5 min­utes 41.10 sec­onds.

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