The Orcas Island Rowing Association attended their second race of the season, the Spring Sprints Regatta held at Lake Stevens, Wash. on April 13. They competed against teams from Sammamish, Olympia, Lake Union, Fort Langley, Delta Deas and Deep Dove.
Due to spring break conflicts and a last minute regatta date change, only eight members of OIRA were able to make the trip, making for some unusual boat combinations for the seven scheduled races. To further make the 39 degree morning interesting, rain and wind shortened the 1500 meter races to 1000 meters.
The first race of the morning and finishing a respectable fifth place was the men’s quad with Jake Zier, Devon Mann, Gunnar Sandwith and Liam Nutt. The unlikely combination of seniors and eight graders, including Mann, who is a female, had coach Coach Tina Brown jumping in amazement as the Orcas boat competed mid pack at the finish.
Hitting the water next was the men’s 1x, which mixed heavyweight and lightweight rowers, who usually race in separate events. Finishing first overall was heavyweight Zier while lightweight Zach Wolford had a strong third place finish in his heat.
Zonia Darnell and Mann raced the women’s novice 2x in a tight race for seventh place while Ray Doss and Charlie Holmes finished second in their heat in the men’s novice 2x.
Mann finished fifth in her heat in the women's 1x while Darnell finished seventh in the men’s and women’s mixed 1x.
Holmes finished an impressive second overall in the men’s novice 1x while Nutt and Sandwith finished 4th in their heat in the men’s lightweight 2x.
Coach Brown said she was proud of Mann.
“She is just an eighth grader and she held her own,” she said. “I look forward to her improving her skills and getting stronger. Of course I was very proud of Jake and Charlie’s performance too. It's the younger rowers that have to fill the huge hole the graduating seniors will leave.”
OIRA travels to Mill Bay, B.C. for the Brentwood Regatta later this month.