The T.C. Williams girls’ first varsity 8 and girls’ varsity lightweight 8 ended the season with two big wins: gold medals at the Canadian Nationals in Ontario, Canada. The girls’ freshman 8 boat also captured a silver medal, and TC sculler Kyra McClary powered down the course to a close fourth-place finish.
Held in St. Catharines, Ontario on June 5-7, the Canadian Secondary Schools Rowing Association Championship Regatta is Canada’s equivalent of the national championship for high school rowing teams. As such, it attracts the fastest boats from across Canada, and a handful of top boats from the United States, as well. Against this elite field, the TC girls’ first varsity 8 (1V) and varsity lightweight 8 (LW8) both came out on top.
In winning the gold medal, the Titan girls’ first varsity 8 defeated Saratoga – the recently-crowned U.S. SRAA national champion – for a huge win to end the season. The 1V victory came at the end of the finals on Sunday, as one of the premier events. The 1V stormed down the 2,000-meter course, neck-in-neck with the crew from Saratoga for the first 500 meters. It then took the lead and held off Saratoga’s advances. Coxswain Brooke Teferra called for one more sprint to end the season. The Titan oarswomen responded brilliantly, and TC increased its lead, crossing the finish line 3.8 seconds ahead of Saratoga.
The Titans won with a time of 6.33.86. The boat also posted the fastest time in the qualifying heat the day before. The 1V added Canadian gold to its Virginia state title. Members of the T.C. Williams varsity 8 include Brooke Teferra (coxswain), Maria Justiano, Claire Embrey, Katie Murphy, Reed Kenney, Amelia Bender, Maura Nakahata, Maeve Bradley and Kyra McClary. Jaime Rubini coaches the girls’ first varsity 8.
Continuing its strong performance this season, the TC girls’ varsity lightweight 8 dominated its Canadian races. With a powerful start, the LW8 pulled away early in the 2,000-meter final, with a field of competitors hot on its trail. With a strong final sprint, the LW8 powered over the finish line, 8 seconds ahead of rival Branksome. The LW8 posted a time of 7:43.99. During the semifinals the prior day, the Titan LW boat won its heat by 22 seconds, with open water between it and its next competitor. With the Canadian gold medal, the TC girls’ LW boat, created this year the first time in many years, added an international gold medal to its bronze medals in the SRAA Nationals and at Stotesbury, a Virginia state gold medal, and several victories in regional competitions. Members of the TC varsity lightweight 8 include Elizabeth Roda (coxswain), Rachael Vannatta, Olivia Anthony, Sierra Arnold, Abby Prall, Sarah Scroggs, Caroline Hill, Emily De-Bodene, and LeeAnn Richards. The lightweight 8 boat is guided by coach Jaime Rubini.
Patrick Marquardt, the TC girls’ head coach who accompanied the Titans to Canada, said, “I am really proud of the entire TC crew team this year. These two final gold medals show that TC boats are among the fastest in North America. The first varsity’s win against U.S. national champion Saratoga shows that it can beat the best. The lightweights took off this year and never stopped excelling. This final gold medal capped an outstanding season that included national and state medals for the boat.”
The Titan girls’ freshman 8 boat also showed its strength during the CSSRA competition, competing in the Junior 8 category. The boat won its heat on Saturday, with a time of 8:15.79. Powering down the course during the finals, it jockeyed with rival Saratoga for first place, with Saratoga finally pulling ahead and crossing the finish line just 7 seconds ahead. The freshman girls’ strode to the medal dock proud of their silver medal finish, with an impressive time of 7:29.06. Showing their strength throughout the season, the freshman girls also captured the silver medal in the Virginia state competition and won regional competitions. Members of the boat include Camila Cardwell (coxswain), Hope Parsons, Grace Vannatta, Madeline Gyllenhoff, Grace Hogan, Emma Carroll, Tess Moran, Cleo Lewis, and Rachel Sedehi. TC girls’ head coach Marquardt guides this crew.
In her first regatta as a sculler this season, TC senior Kyra McClary surged down the course as a single three times over the weekend. She won first place in her qualifying heat on day one, second place in her semifinal heat on day two, and fourth place in the finals. Serving double duty throughout the weekend, Kyra also stepped onto the medals dock later that afternoon to receive a gold medal as a member of the girls’ first varsity 8.
Also turning in strong performances at the Canadian Nationals were two TC girls’ senior 4 boats, which had been rowing as teams for just two weeks. Made up from the TC girls’ second 8, both boats excelled against tough international competition. The senior 4 boat, including Priya Vohra (coxswain), Lynn Stevens, Lily Warden, Hannah Posson, and Alyssa Forbes, advanced to the semi-finals by capturing second place in its heat and put in a powerful performance in the semifinals. The girls’ lightweight 4, with Sadie Frymire (coxswain), Anissa Ashraf, Giulia Pastore, Lauren Kelly and Harper Jensen, also showed its strengthen against a highly competitive field during the semifinals. Gracie Barbara coaches these boats.
While the TC boys’ team did not attend the Canadian Nationals, they also had a strong season, including gold medals for both the first varsity 4 and the freshman 8 at the Virginia state championship and many regional wins. The Titan boys’ crew coaching team is led by head coach Peter Stramese.