Penn AC at U23 and Junior World Championships

by: Cara Stawicki

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Mabry after a win in the men’s intermediate single at the 2017 Independence Day Regatta in Philadelphia, Pa.

International competition for the United States is well underway for the year. The 2017 World Rowing Under 23 Championships concluded July 23 in Plovdiv, Bulgaria. The 2017 World Rowing Junior Championships wrapped up two weeks later on August 6 in Trakai, Lithuania. Penn AC athlete, Kyle Mabry (Poughkeepsie, N.Y.; Boston University), earned a spot on the Under 23 National Team, while three former Penn AC Gold athletes grabbed spots on the roster for Junior Worlds.

Mabry made it onto the 69-person Under 23 roster by winning the men’s single sculls at the Under 23 trials held on Mercer Lake in late June. His time of 7:18.65 put him 12 seconds ahead of the second-place finisher in the field. Mabry then went on to compete for the United States on the Maritza River at Under 23 World Championships where he finished fourth in the D Final for a 22nd-place finish overall.

“The overall experience informed me of where I stand internationally,” said Mabry. “One of the big things I took away from U23 Worlds is that I can be competitive at this level, there is just a lot more work to be done if I want to make it onto the podium.”

“My biggest lesson is that I need to build more strength and speed for the next competition,” he continued. “I can’t expect to continue doing the same kind of training I’ve been doing, and then do well at the senior level.”

Mabry said that the highlight of the trip was spending time with other athletes from the United States and abroad, and getting to know some of the top rowers from around the world. He wrapped up the 2017 season by racing in the men’s championship single event at Royal Canadian Henley in St. Catherine’s, Ontario. He will be looking to make it onto the senior national team next year.

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Penn AC’s men’s Under 19 eight at USRowing Club National Championships.

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2017 USA men’s Under 19 eight. Photo credit: USRowing.

Penn AC athletes on the 53-person roster for Junior Worlds included Nolan Parks (Seattle, Wash.), Tori Del Valle (Calif.), and Clay Watson (Palo Alto, Calif.). Parks and Del Valle competed for Penn AC in 2016. Both helped the club to two fourth place finishes in their respective Under 19 eight events at the 2016 USRowing Club National Championships held in Cincinnati, Ohio. Watson raced for Penn AC in 2015, earning bronze in the men’s Under 19 eight at the 2015 USRowing Club National Championships, which took place in Ohio as well.

This year, all three athletes were selected to represent the United States in Lithuania at Junior Worlds. Parks lined-up in the men’s eight that took silver in what USRowing called one of the closest races of the day. According to USRowing, the USA eight was in the lead at the 1,500-meter mark, and battled for medals with Germany and Great Britain during a sprint that resulted in a photo finish. Germany finished first in 5:49.13; United States second in 5:50.10; and Great Britain third in 5:50.26, just 0.16 behind the USA crew.

Watson competed in the men’s four with coxswain. His boat took the lead off the start and finished sixth in the field. Italy won gold in 6:33.71, Switzerland silver in 6:36.91 and Germany bronze in 6:37.95. Watson’s boat crossed the line in 6:43.49, barely edged out by the crew from Ukraine that took fifth, 0.05 seconds ahead of the USA crew.

Del Valle, who will be attending the University of Michigan as a freshman this fall, was selected to the team as the women’s spare.

International racing will pick up again next month when athletes from around the world line-up at the 2017 World Rowing Championships in Sarasota-Bradenton, Fla., September 24 to October 1. Penn AC athletes Kathryn Schiro (Huntsville, Ala.; Oklahoma City University), Cara Stawicki (Wall, N.J.; Lehigh University) and Jen Sager (Glenside, Pa.; Trinity College) will line-up in the lightweight women’s quadruple sculls. Erik Frid (Madbury, N.H.; Ithaca College) and Luke Wilhelm (Miranda, Calif.; University of California, Santa Barbara) will compete in the men’s quadruple sculls. Both crews are being coached Sean Hall and Charlie Biddle, Head Coach and Assistant Coach of Penn AC’s High Performance Group.

Written by Cara Stawicki, carastawicki@gmail.com.

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