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