Sebastian River rowers shine at Nationals

SEBASTIAN — They “rowed” to the occasion at the Nationals! Sebastian River High School’s crew team made quite a mark at the Scholastic Rowing Association of America Championships in Nashport, Ohio, last weekend.

In the Girls Junior 4 event, Sarah Buscher (sophomore), Mimi Spires (freshman), Brianna Roan (freshman), Elizabeth Rubio (junior) and Matt Perakes (freshman – coxswain) finished 13th overall out of 24.

In the Girls Lightweight 8 event, the team of Meghan Faria (sophomore), Harley Campbell (sophomore), Ashley Winans (sophomore), Lucy Heady (sophomore), Gabbie Stroth (senior), Rebecca Kinsley (junior), Nataly Rubio (senior), Kolbie Fletcher (freshman) and Alyssa Wiles (sophomore) finished seventh overall out of 13 – the Sharks’ highest-ever placing in the event.

And in the Girls Varsity 4 event, Tonia O’Neil (junior), Sydney Spicer (sophomore), Alex Thull (sophomore), Savannah Todd (senior and captain) and Katelyn Wahl (sophomore) finished 14th out of 28 boats – again, Sebastian River’s best-ever finish in the event. The squad was less than a .6 seconds away from qualifying for the semifinals.

According to head rowing coach Tom Lange, this year was “the first time in the program’s history that we were able to take every boat we raced at States. … The team was young, composed of nine experienced rowers and 10 inexperienced. The only female athlete that did not participate at Nationals, Alexandra Carlsward, switched from rower to coxswain and helped the boys junior almost qualify at States.

“It was an amazing feat due to the fact that each boat has to row against the state’s best in order to make it to Nationals.”

Lange also reports three Sebastian River crew members will continue their rowing careers in college: Nick Thull (on scholarship) for Temple University in Philadelphia; Brooks Spires for Marietta College in Ohio; and Logan Johnson for Florida Tech in Melbourne.

An optimistic Lange said, “With such a young team that is made up with a large group of freshmen and sophomores, we are looking forward to building on this year’s success and head back to Nationals with fast 8s and turn our results this year into medals next year.”

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