On May 16-18, twelve members of the Orcas Island Rowing Team traveled to Vancouver Lake in Vancouver, Wash. to compete against the best in the Northwest at the U.S. Rowing Junior Regional Championship Regatta. Out of that field of over 1,000 athletes, two from Orcas Island, Barrett North and Sam Parish, qualified to compete in the U.S. Rowing Youth National Championship Regatta by placing second in the Men’s Lightweight 2x (double) with a time of 7:24.34 over a 2,000-meter course (only 3.29 seconds behind first place).
“I cannot express how exciting this is for them,” says head coach, Tina Brown. “We haven’t made it to Nationals since 2000, when Tom Roseberry and Aaron Capdeville qualified in the Men’s Heavyweight 2x, eventually placing 9th in the country.
“I’ve known that Sam and Barrett would eventually make it. They are both skilled athletes and they row very well together. Sam has an intensity that always astonishes me and Barrett is so smooth to watch. They balance each other out well. To find a doubles partner that you can mesh with out of such a small program is remarkable.
“But honestly, I find all the kids on this team remarkable. They are such a supportive group. We may be the smallest team in our region, but we have the biggest team spirit! I’m honored and proud to be a coach for such a wonderful group.”
The strength in the Orcas Island Rowing Team does not just stop with Sam and Barrett’s silver medal. Hannah North also brought home a silver medal in the Women’s Lightweight 1x (single) with a time of 9:27.39. This, too, would have qualified her for the National Championship, but U.S. Rowing has not expanded its events to include the lightweight single. Sam Parish and Barrett North also placed third and fifth (respectively) in the Men’s Lightweight 1x with times of 8:04.02 and 8:14.62. Morgan Borman placed a very respectable fourth in the Men’s Novice 1x with a time of 8:30.88.
Sam, Barrett, Tina and Mike Reid (the man who knows all about keeping the equipment working as well as one of the founding coaches of the program) will leave on June 11 for the U.S. Rowing Youth National Championship Regatta taking place near Cincinnati, Ohio on Harsha Lake from June 13 to 15. To keep up with how Sam and Barrett are doing, or to help support the team in their efforts, please visit the crew’s website, orcasislandrowing.org, which will be kept up-to-date with racing results and information.