Islands' Sounder


End of an era for rowing

March 15, 2013 · Updated 1:16 PM

At Orcas Island Rowing – like many institutions on Orcas – the kids come in phases.  We have a crop of rowers that will graduate this year. Jake Zier and Max Blackadar have been with us for five years, Zack Wolford, Garett Pietsch and Bailey Johnson for four years and Liam Nutt for two years. Crew has been a big part of their lives and they have been a big part of the team. With these strong, experienced rowers on board and a crop of strong younger rowers OIR is hoping for a successful Spring season.

Zier is co-captain and one of our most successful rowers of all time. After a phenomenal spring season last year he was hotly pursued by coaches at some of the nations most prestigious rowing colleges. He accepted a seat on the University of Washington crew team, which is one of the nation’s best.

“I enjoy being on Cascade Lake and crew keeps me in great shape,” Zier said. “Orcas Island Rowing gave me the opportunity to compete at the national level and gain the recognition to be recruited by several great colleges.”

Blackadar is co-captain and has been accepted to the highly competitive Naval Academy at Anapolis. He is the third generation of Blackadars to attend the academy. Navy has a highly regarded crew team and Max wants to row and or cox for them.

“Crew helped me learn to manage time when there wasn't enough to go around,” he said. “It allowed me to get to know kids of other ages as well as adults. Colleges are looking for leadership ability outside of school and being captain helped me develop and demonstrate those skills.”

Zack said, “The crew team is a great group of friends and a good peer group. The sport and my teammates helped keep me motivated and focused on working hard towards the future. I have applied to: Cal Poly, OSU, Santa Clara University.”

Garett said, “Crew provides camaraderie and fun. It is a miniature community. Physical activities are good and I may row in college. Crew showed colleges that I am more than a student and involved in other activities. I have applied to: UC Berkeley, Cornell and RPI.”

Bailey said, “Crew is a group of friends I can rely on and staying active is important. It has made me a better team member. Colleges can see I have rowed for four years and am dedicated to the team. I have been accepted to Worcester Polytechnic Institute and I want to be part of their crew team.”

Nutt has been a member of Orcas Fire for three years. He said, “Crew helped me get to know different people and motivated me to keep my grades up. It challenged me and kept me in shape for firefighting. I have been accepted into the Fire Academy and the Fire and Emergency Services Technician program at South Puget Sound Community College.”

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