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Culver Rowing earns two National Championships

The Culver Rowing team’s Men’s Varsity 4+ and Junior 4+ traveled to Lake Dillon in Nashport, OH to compete at the Scholastic National Championships this weekend.

The two boats that competed include:

  • The Men’s Junior 4+ team (title photo) consisting of Brendan Jarmusz '21 (Winnetka, IL), Corbin Steck '20 (Decatur, IL), Jason Dilena '20 (Tiburon, CA), Diego Gordon '20 (Ukiah, CA), and Benjamin Brummel '20 (Highlands Ranch, CO).
  • The Men’s Varsity 4+ team consisting of Noah Tan '21 (Stevensville, MI), Savas Koutsouras '20 (Culver, IN), Henry Stewart '19 (Indianapolis, IN), Jacob Page '20 (Granger, IN) and Charles Jones '20 (Bloomington, IN).

You can view a full list of results from the weekend HERE

The trip started Thursday morning at 8am sharp, early enough that the boats could practice on the course prior to competition. Unfortunately, however, the trip didn’t begin as smoothly as the team hoped.

A screw on the highway pierced a rear tire of the truck pulling our trailer, causing the team to learn the finer points of changing a flat with the truck’s spare, and the wind kicked up more than anticipated at the race course throughout the day, causing the regatta to cancel all practice rows down the course.

Auspicious beginnings aside, the team managed to mentally recover before the next day’s races. "We got some time to decompress," said head coach Nathan Walker. "We enjoyed some time together with a dinner of wood-fired pizza, ice cream, and a visit to the infamous ‘World’s Largest Wooden Basket’."

The following day saw both boats win their heats comfortably in ideal rowing conditions, thereby qualifying for the semifinals in their events and bypassing the ‘Repachage’ races later that afternoon. 

Saturday morning saw a slight rise in wind speed but still good conditions, and both boats won their semifinals, albeit with closer and more competitive racing than they’d experienced in the heats. Things were looking good for the finals Saturday afternoon for both boats, as the wind began to pick up again.

As was expected, the finals saw the highest level of competition. The Junior 4+ team found themselves positioned a little behind Haverford HS (PA) and Sebastian River HS (FL) in the first third of their final race. "The guys admitted they didn't feel good about the race," said Walker. "I think the conditions and the pressure of the moment wore on them." However, the group found a hard rhythm near the midpoint of the race and pushed into the lead, holding off hard charges from second and third-place Haverford School and Moorestown High School (NJ) in the sprint to the line, winning by 2.3 seconds to take the championship 

Later that afternoon the Varsity 4+ squad raced in their event's grand finals, where they found themselves in a similar if not more precarious situation as the Junior 4+ had been prior.

They fought for third place in a similarly gutted out race, down more than half a boat length to both Pinecrest School (FL) and Baylor School (TN) early on.

Fortunately, the grit the program had become accustomed to seeing from its Varsity 4+ squad prevailed. They were able to slowly close the gap the other crews had established early and pushed their bowball into the lead in the last third of the race. Culver took the race by 2.7 seconds over second and third-place Pinecrest School and Orchard Lake St Mary’s Prep (MI).

The wins represent the second and third SRAA titles in the Culver Rowing program's history (2017-18), as well as the sixth and seventh USRowing Youth Nationals/Scholastic Rowing Nationals titles in coach Walker's career.