The East Bay's Oakland Strokes competed at the U.S. Rowing Junior Nationals from June 13-15 at Lake Natoma in Folsom and came out on top in two races.
Oakland Strokes was one of 133 rowing clubs and over 1,800 athletes competing from around the country and earned medals in the three most coveted races held at the national championships.
Both the girls varsity 8+ and girls lightweight 8+ took home the gold medal in their respective races while the boys varsity 8+ took silver, closely losing out to Long Beach in a much anticipated and heated race.
The girls lightweight 8+ boat was an especially sweet win over its longtime rival, Long Beach.
Fueled by their success at the Southwest Junior Regionals this past May, the varsity girls 8+ boat continued their string of success, taking the race handily by more than a boat length lead over second-place Connecticut.
"It couldn't have gone any better," said junior Marie Johnson. "Our coxswain made a call to 'sprint for the five seniors, for all the pieces that we've done all year;' we've worked so hard. It's everything I could have wished for -- exhilarating and surreal."
The varsity girls 8+ boat includes Abby Vare (St. Mary's High), Elizabeth Elmgren (Oakland Tech), Tara Bozzini (Acalanes), Jennifer Mundelius (Monte Vista), Coxswain Margaret Ross (Miramonte), Evelyn McManus (Miramonte), Olivia Klinkenberg (Acalanes), Marie Johnson (Miramonte) and Lindy Clute (Carondelet).
The lightweight girls 8+ boat features Jenny Hosler (Piedmont), Maddie Boxer (Piedmont), Coxswain Gray Strandberg (Bishop O'Dowd), Madelynn Prendergast (Head Royce), Margaret Odell (Miramonte), Alessandra Lucas (Acalanes), Alanah Anderson (Piedmont), Elizabeth Hofinga (Miramonte) and Jillian Lundstrom (Miramonte).
Members of the varsity boys 8+ are Christian Cuellar (Alameda), Viggo Hoite (Berkeley), Josef Starc (Oakland Tech), Daniel Hogan (De La Salle), Kevin Chang (Bentley), Marshall Krock (Monte Vista), Coxswain Hannah Christopher (Miramonte), Alexandr Lilichenko (Miramonte) and David Parker (Bentley School)
The five graduating seniors (several of whom missed their respective graduations in order to participate) from the girls varsity 8+ boat will now be joining university rowing programs at Harvard, Brown, Michigan and Cal this upcoming fall.
Those interested in learning more about Oakland Strokes or joining the program, can find out more at www.oaklandstrokes.org.