This article first appeared on alexandrianews.org on Feb. 12, 2016
On Jan. 30, T. C. Williams High School hosted the 2016 MidAtlantic Erg Sprints, showcasing an arena of success that has been building over 30 years of competition. The MidAtlantic Erg Sprints began in 1985 as a way to motivate a handful of rowers to stay in shape through during “off-season” and are now the world’s second largest indoor rowing competition and the largest for high school athletes.
Sanctioned by U.S. Rowing and hosted by Alexandria Crew Boosters, the competition drew rowers and coaches from all over the region to the Gerry Bertier Gymnasium to compete in 137 different events. The competition attracted over 2,000 entries from 130 teams, with competitors ranging in age from 5 to 88. Olympic athletes, veteran and novice rowers, disabled athletes, parent-child pairings and rowers of all ages and abilities joined together to test their strength and endurance.
The MidAtlantic Erg Sprints presented medals for individual performances and trophies for consolidated performances. Woodrow Wilson High School captured the trophy for the top high school rowing team, and Virginia Tech Crew earned first place honors as the top Collegiate Rowing competitors. Annapolis Junior Rowing Association took Baltimore’s Junior League honors, James River High School Rowing took EVSRA and Woodrow Wilson High School won WMIRA as well as total overall. The MedStar NRH Paralympic Sport Club rowers dominated the top Fitness Club Team category again this year.
Stars of the day included rowers powering through a distance of 2000 meters, qualifying for the CRASH-B World Indoor Rowing Championship on Feb. 28 in Boston:
- Veteran Rower William Brownlee from St. Andrew’s Rowing Club, for the second consecutive year;
- Robert Spousa from the Occoquan Boat Club;
- Paul Siebach, lightweight rower from Northern Virginia Rowing Club;
- Christian Tabash and Joseph Johnson, both from Gonzaga College High School.
High Schools: Gold medal recipients included T.C. Williams’ Jillian Jones (kids 500M) and Blythe Markel (junior women 1500M lightweight); Bishop Ireton’s Elizabeth McCabe (junior women 500M championship lightweight) and Clayton Kiyonaga (junior men 1500M); Abigail Koerner (junior women 20-minute row lightweight); and Sam Snedden from Woodrow Wilson (junior men 2000M). Two T.C. Williams rowers grabbed silver medals: Kelly Jones (junior women 1000M) and Ailysh Motsinger (womens open 2000M lightweight).
Alexandria Community Rowing competitors Christina Swartz (veteran women 2000M), Mary Cato (veteran women 500M sprint championship) and Lori Criado (masters women 30-minute row) took home gold medals.
The race field contained great performances from all categories—seniors, juniors, adaptive rowers—impressive and inspiring in their own way. Full race results and photographs from the event are available on the MidAtlantic Erg Sprints website.