Rowing teams advance to nationals

SARASOTA — In perfect weather for rowing, including little or no wind and no whitecaps, a group of Sarasota rowers Sunday performed in golden fashion during the final day of the Southeast Regional Youth Rowing 2010 Championship Regatta at Nathan Benderson Park.

Seven boats manned by Sarasota Scullers rowers qualified Sunday for the Youth National Championships the second weekend in June in Cincinnati, said Dragos Alexandru, coach of the Sarasota Scullers.

Three boats from the Sarasota Crew qualified for Cincinnati, said Crew coach Casey Galvanek.

Chris Lampkin, a senior and men’s captain of the Sarasota Scullers, joined with Joe Mihm to win gold and qualify in men’s lightweight double.

Katie Allen, Cara Rawe, Julienne Koehler, Tory Graham and coxswain Arianna Robbins also won gold and qualified in women’s 4.

Colleen Wohlrab and Becca L’Hote took gold in women’s pair to advance, as did Tori Hetman and Julienne Koehler in women’s lightweight double.

Ryan Houser and Kyle Norder qualified with silver in men’s double.Sean Murphy, Conor Davenport, Thom Marryott, Joseph Pantera and coxswain Connor Grooms qualified with silver in men’s championship 4.

Shannon Sims, a senior and girl’s captain, combined with Mary Beth Bilder, Shawna Sims and Tori Hetman to advance with a bronze in women’s quad.

The first Crew boat that qualified was the men’s championship 8 manned by Matt Sobotka, Marcel Dupuis, Joshua Schmidt, Hunter Leeming, Nick Duncan, Ryan Anderson, Andrew Conecny and Danny Corin with coxswain Courtney Burger. That boat won silver.

In the men’s quad, Sobotka, Dupuis, Schmidt and Leeming qualified with gold.The Crew’s women’s quad won silver and qualified behind Christina Niffenegger, Carli Goldberg, Mari Beiling and McKayla Taaffe.

“The races were very close,” said local rowing fan and Lakewood Ranch resident Mark Chait. “The excitement was palpable.”

A crowd estimated at about 10,000 came to the park at Interstate 75 and University Parkway.

Richard Dymond, Herald reporter, can be reached at 748-0411, Ext. 6686.