Warrior Crew Comes Home Champions


By Brooke Correll

Elinor Bragaw, Grace Von Elton, Carrie Smith, Emily Barlow
Elinor Bragaw, Grace Von Elton, Carrie Smith, Emily Barlow

Western Albemarle’s Rowing Team dominated the sculling events at the 2015 Virginia State Rowing Association Championship on the Occoquan River May 14, bringing home three champions and one third place finish in the 1,500 meter sprints.

Western won the women’s singles event for the second straight year as senior Never Gallagher clocked a 6:37.

Senior Hayes Shannon finished first in men’s singles with a time of 5:56.

Elinor Bragaw, Emily Barlow, Grace von Elton and Carrie Smith finished first in women’s quads with a time of 5:29. Maggie Vidal and Emmy Thacker took third in women’s doubles with a time of 5:59.

All four boats moved on to compete in the 2105 National Scholastic Rowing Association Championship in Camden, New Jersey May 23. The WAHS boys double, comprised of seniors Cole Bright and Carter Spradlin, made it to the final heat, but did not place. It was an amazing achievement for six boats from WAHS’s small team to qualify for and participate in the national championship.

Western Albemarle showed big muscle for a small team of just 20 rowers. At the state championship, the school entered eight boats in six events to bring home an astonishing four medals.

Hayes Shannon
Hayes Shannon

Western competes only in sculls, smaller boats in which each rower uses two oars, rather than sweep boats, larger boats where each rower uses a single oar. Head coach Myriam Pitts believes sculling to be much healthier for developing bodies: “Sweep creates one-sided, repetitive movement that can strain muscles and set up longer term muscular imbalance. Sculling, with two oars, requires symmetry and balance that works all muscles evenly,” she said. “Further, scullers need to be more adept at ‘setting’ or balancing the boat because there are fewer rowers in a scull than in a sweep boat. I’m proud to say our program produces some of the finest, most skilled athletes in the community.”

After such a strong showing, she’s clearly produced some of the finest athletes in the state.

WAHS coaches offer a summer rowing program at Beaver Creek for adults and teens who want to learn to row or row competitively. For more information, write to [email protected].

Neve Gallagher
Neve Gallagher


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