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Local rowing crews compete in national championship regatta

Rowers from St. Joseph Academy, St. Ignatius, Magnificat, and Shaker Heights hope to become national champions this weekend in New Jersey.

You may have seen them on the Cuyahoga River, area high school rowing teams homing their skills.

And this weekend they hope to become national champions.

For the Saint Joseph Academy crew team, it’s time to get one last practice in before going to nationals. The trip was a bit of a surprise, with a season cut short due to bad weather and so many of the team having graduated.

“This was intended to be a rebuilding year with all the girls that graduated, but our underclassmen have really stepped up held a leadership role,” said senior Julie Panstares.

“Seeing the results of our races it seems like most of those girls have been rowing for like three years,” said Margret Grant, a junior on the team.

The SRAA National Championship Regatta has 183 clubs competing in New Jersey. The Saint Joseph Academy Jaguars qualified in two divisions of 4 rowers and a coxswain, the person who sits in the stern.

“Everyone has to be pushing 100% all the time or you know because we are all together in one boat. And that’s pretty significant to make sure everyone is giving 100% all the time,” said Panstares.

It’s the challenge and the team bond that attracts these athletes to the sport.

“I like the mental challenge of it. It is defiantly a mental sport as well as a physical sport,” said Panstares.

“Just like the team atmosphere all the time. It just requires so many different skills and I think that is what draws me to it,” adds Grant.

Other local teams in the Championship Regatta include Magnificat, Shaker Heights and St. Ignatius High Schools.

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