A five-man team from the North Bay Rowing Club is ranked 13th in the nation after winning its class Saturday at the USRowing Youth National Championships on Lake Natoma near Rancho Cordova.
The championships, the country’s premier youth rowing event, included 1,500 athletes in more than 350 crews, representing about 150 clubs from across the country competing for titles in 18 boat classes.
Coxswain Ren Demsher and oarsmen Miko Brown, Benjamin Kropelnicki, and brothers Patrick and Michael McDermott won their C division final in 7 minutes and 21.936 seconds, just less than three seconds ahead of second-place Seattle.
Earlier, they placed 15th in their time trials and third in their repechage (second-chance) round to qualify for the C division final. Top finishers competed in A and B division finals.
All five boys are from Sonoma County high schools: Demsher will be a senior at Credo, Brown a junior at Petaluma, Kropelnicki just graduated from St. Vincent and the McDermotts just finished at Cardinal Newman.
To qualify for the national regatta, rowers had to medal in a regional competition. The North Bay team won bronze in the Southwest Junior Rowing Championships in May to advance to nationals.
The other teams in the C final all had similar times going into the race, so coach Will Whalen suspected it would be competitive.
“We knew it was going to be a really tight race and the guys were really fired up after the (repechage),” he said.
While North Bay won the 2,000-meter race handily, numbers 2 through 5 all finished within three seconds of each other.
“We didn’t have the greatest start and we were back just a little bit. Over the first 500 meters, all the boats were pretty much straight across,” he said. “But then we made a move at the halfway mark and motored out to a nice lead. We led race for last 800 meters.”
The rowing club has leagues for middle schoolers, high schoolers and adults. It also offers summer programs for youths.
You can reach Staff Writer Lori A. Carter at 707-521-5470 or email@example.com. On Twitter @loriacarter.