The following is taken from a press release submitted by Lauren Griffiths:
Wellesley residents Margaret Ciocca and Jessica Pedersen, members of the girls’ lightweight 8+ crew team, representing Community Rowing, Inc. (CRI) based in Brighton, Mass., claimed a national title at the US Rowing Youth National Championships at Melton Hill Lake in Oak Ridge, Tenn. after three days of racing last weekend. Only the fastest crews from the 11 qualifying regattas around the country this spring earned the right to race for a title in Oak Ridge.
This is the second time Ciocca has won the national title with the CRI lightweight 8+. She returned this year with four of last year’s boat mates to defend the US Rowing Youth National Championship title they won last year in Cincinnati, Ohio. In 2009, the CRI lightweight 8+ placed fourth, again with Ciocca at two-seat. Ciocca’s older sister, Caroline, stroked the team to a silver medal in 2008 in the same event. This is Pedersen's first appearance at Nationals.
The CRI team of eight rowers, all weighing 130 pounds or less, and coxswain began the competition Friday by winning their heat and automatically advancing to the semi-finals. Late Saturday afternoon, the team easily secured a berth in Sunday’s grand final where they were pitted against the five other top boats in the nation. In the end, the CRI girls, with Ciocca at two-seat and Pedersen at three-seat, took home the gold medal and crystal trophy by open water with a time of 07:01.84. California’s Oakland Strokes crossed the line at 07:07.41, followed by Chicago’s New Trier crew at 07:10.06.
Chris McClurg, a rising senior at competed in the Men’s Lightweight 4+ event at bow seat and completed the racing with a ranking of fourth overall in his event just missing the medal stand by five seconds.
Wellesley’s Katie Falb and Mike Giroux competed in the Men’s Lightweight 8+ event securing an 11th place national ranking. Cornell-bound Falb, a recent graduate of Buckingham Browne & Nichols School, was the boat’s coxswain and Giroux, a sophomore at Wellesley High School, rowed stroke seat.
Lauren Kennedy, a junior at Wellesley High School, made her first appearance at the national event and competed in the Women’s Lightweight 4+ event finishing 15th overall.
Complete results are available at www.usrowing.org.