Oakland Strokes Men’s and Women’s Teams Going to Nationals in CincinnatiVenturing/LFL/Explorer News—May 12, 2010

Last weekend on Lake Natoma, Rancho Cordova, California, Oakland Strokes rowing team competed in the USRowing Southwest Junior Regional Championship Regatta. Teams from Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico, Hawaii, Nevada and Utah competed on a 7 lane 2000 meter course to determine which teams would continue on to national level competition this June in Cincinnati.

The Women’s Varsity teams swept the event with gold medals in the Varsity, Junior Varsity and Light Weight Varsity boats! When the Varsity Eight stroked by Miramonte’s Elizabeth Lenczowski finished in first place with a time of 6:59:72, the team claimed the secret to their success is “trusting and liking each other.” The team of 9 girls from 4 different schools is close-knit and works consistently as a unit. Sadly, six of those girls are graduating seniors and Piedmont’s Nicole Sung-Jereczek said her goal for the race was to “end my four years [on Strokes] on a great note.” Nicole will be rowing for UCLA next year. The rest of the Varsity Eight boat included: Becky Bauer (Miramonte), Corinnne Bozzini (Campolindo), Camilla Polakoff (Bentley), Katie McKeen (Piedmont), Dana Walsh (Miramonte), Nikki Dalberg-Seeth (Miramonte), Molly Fehr (Miramonte cox).
Joining this team at Nationals is the Light Weight Women’s Varsity Eight who also brought home gold medals. Several of the lightweight rowers are going to Nationals for their second time in three years. Job well done Oakland Strokes Varsity Women and coach Derek Byrnes. Good luck at Nationals.

The Men’s Varsity Boat also qualified for Nationals which will take place in Cincinnati, Ohio in June. The boat stroked by Miramonte’s Ian Drake ran “their best race of the year” finishing third in the finals with a time of 6:15:27. “That was the hardest 7 minutes I ever pulled,” said Drake. Coxswain Alex Steele added, “We were just smashing. It was a battle and I loved it.” When asked how the race felt to him, Rocky Davis of Miramonte High simply said, “Sexy!”
With a somewhat uneven start earlier this year, the team really came together in the past few months as a boat. Billy Deskin of Campolinda said, “Six months ago I never thought we’d be where we are today.” Zach Attaran of Acalanes High added, “You never know what’s going to happen. You just have to trust in yourself and your team and go for it.”

The key to their success this weekend seems to be trust and motivation. Jack Andreoni of Piedmont High School said, “Before the race our coach said this was judgment day. We were putting all of our workouts in a pile to see which team’s pile was bigger.” Piedmont’s David Hosler added that the team was motivated before the race by former Cal and Olympic coach Gladstone who told them to trust in themselves and go 100%. The pep talks really worked for Campolindo’s Alex Sheridan who said it was “the most motivated I’ve ever been for a race.”
Strokes Men were rewarded for their faith and efforts with an invitation to compete in Nationals this June. Congratulations Oakland Strokes Varsity Men and Coach Ivan Smiljanic.
The Novice Men’s A Boat celebrated Mother’s Day in the rain by squeaking out a gold medal with an impressive time bringing the entire team medal count to five gold medals, six silver and two bronze medals for Strokes. Men’s Varsity coach Ivan Smiljanic said, “This regatta was absolutely awesome. The best CJs our entire team has had in years!”
Again—congratulations to all the rowers, coxswain, coaches and parents of Oakland Strokes! And good luck in Cincinnati!

MV Photo: (in boat from left to right) Billy Deskin (Campolinda), Alex Sheridan (Campolinda), Jack Andreoni (PHS), Zack Attaran (Acalanes), Sebastian Rocky Davis (Miramonte), Haydn Bierwith (Athenian), David Hosler (PHS), Ian Drake (Miramonte), and Coxswain Alexander Steele (Miramonte).