Monday, July 09, 2007

Thomas Jefferson H.S. Competes at Henley

For the second year in a row the rowing team from Thomas Jefferson High School in Fairfax County was among the best crew teams in the world, competing at the Henley Royal Regatta in England. We would like to think that one of the factors assisting these great athletes has been one of the best rowing facilities in the country at Sandy Run Regional Park. The Sandy Run facility is on the Occoquan Reservoir and is a facility dedicated to scholastic rowing.

The TJ Men’s Varsity won all their regattas against all the local competition in Virginia. They then beat five top crews from across the Mid-Atlantic States and New England at the St. Andrew’s Invitational regatta. After that regatta, it became clear that TJ’s boat this year would be very good. And, good it proved to be, winning the Virginia State Championships, the world’s largest high school regatta (175 schools), the Stotesbury Cup Regatta in Philadelphia, and the Scholastic Rowing Association of America National Championships.

This record made it clear that the boat would not only qualify, but be offered one of the eight top seeds, for the Princess Elizabeth Challenge Cup at the Henley Royal Regatta, the premier rowing event in the world. As rowing is not school sponsored in Northern Virginia, the parents worked hard to make arrangements and to raise funds to get the team to England for the regatta. After practicing for more than a week in England, rowing practice races against numerous other college and club crews from the US, the competition bracket was determined on Saturday June 30. TJ, while seeded, was placed in the half of the bracket with the Irish, Australian, Canadian, and British champions.

TJ won its first two races “easily” (more than five lengths) against Methodist College, Belfast, the Irish champions, and then Winchester College. In the round of eight, TJ faced the Brentwood College School, the Canadian champions, and lost after battling its opponent for the lead for the first mile. Brentwood ended up second in the regatta losing by one foot to Shrewsbury School of England. The TJ Men’s Varsity Eight ended their amazing season US National Champions and one of top eight high school boats in the world!

Congratulations TJ on an outstanding season!!

(All but the first paragraph of this post was copied from a report to TJ supports from Warren Muir)

No comments: