Flames, Lady Flames crews row to four gold medals at spring season-opening regatta
Liberty University’s crew team rowed to four gold-medal finishes at the spring season-opening Waterfield Cup, hosted by Virginia Tech on Saturday in ideal conditions at Claytor Lake.
“We had great weather on Saturday,” Head Coach Debbie Prowse said. “It was nice and sunny with very low winds and very mild temperatures. It was similar to what we train on at Smith Mountain Lake, with no current and very still water. It was a good day to get back into racing, and good to have a 2,000 (-kilometer) race season for the first time since 2019.”
The Flames’ and Lady Flames’ Novice 8 and Novice 4 A boats all crossed the finish line first in races featuring crews from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, North Carolina State, Christopher Newport University, James Madison University, and Virginia Tech.
Liberty’s men’s and women’s Novice 8 boats both defeated crews from the host Hokies in 7 minutes, 18 seconds and 8:09.42, respectively.
The men’s Novice 8 lineup featured rowers Kurt Herbert, a sophomore, freshman David West, junior Clayton Allred, freshman Luke Bayona, freshman Zebediah Foster, sophomore Carlos Diaz, freshman Blake Mosshart, and freshman Quin Gresham with sophomore Callie Perini the coxswain.
Junior Alyssa Horne served as coxswain in the women’s Novice 8 boat with senior Morgan Schaible, freshman Jada Lane, junior Robin Payton, freshman Grace Seibert, freshman Elizabeth Grace Norris, senior Peyton Chandler, freshman Rachel Teague, and freshman Kate Horgan the rowers.
Liberty’s men’s Novice 4 A team of Herbert, Bayona, Foster, and West, coxed by Perini, won in 7:33.5, beating NC State, with its B lineup of Allred, Diaz, Mosshart, and Gresham finishing third in 8:11.5.
Senior Tim Bentz was the coxswain on the Lady Flames’ winning Novice 4 A boat rowed by Schaible, Lane, Payton, and Seibert, who crossed the finish line in 8:36.7 ahead of crews from Virginia Tech and CNU. In the second heat, Liberty’s women’s Novice 4 B team of Norris, Chandler, Teague, and freshman Kimberly Loutzenheiser finished in 9:14.7, a split-second behind JMU’s winning time of 9:15.02 and ahead of NC State.
“It was a small regatta, but we walked away with four gold medals, which was very exciting,” Prowse said. “It was definitely a good kickoff to the season, and nice to get some race experience, since a lot of these kids are novices. The 2K races are definitely different (than the 5K head regattas in the fall), with side-by-side starts on the course.”
The weekend, Liberty will compete with the same six boats at the North Carolina Championships in High Point, N.C., rowing against boats from host High Point as well as Davidson, JMU, NC State, UNC Chapel Hill’s men’s team, South Carolina, and VCU.
“There will be 25 clubs represented between collegiate and high school programs, with just over 300 entries, so it will be on the smaller side, which is nice because it gives us some more racing experience before we get into the regional championships at SIRA, and the club national championships at ACRA.
Both of those regattas will be held in Oak Ridge, Tenn., on April 15-16 and May 20-21, respectively.
By Ted Allen/Staff Writer