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Nature Doesn’t Cooperate, Ram Rowers Still Bring Home Two Gold Medals

By Patricia Sundman, 04/13/19, 5:45PM EDT

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Gold winners on the Women’s Lightweight 4+: Amelia Sundman, Chloe Merritt, Ally Kinstle, Sophia Stauffer, and coxswain Callie Perini. ~ Photo by Aaron Sundman

The Rowing Rams travelled to the Huron River in Ann Arbor on Saturday, April 13, for the annual Floodtown Regatta. The event is hosted by Skyline High School and provides tough competition from ten teams including Huron, Saline, Northville, Perrysburg, Culver, Pioneer, and others. The Floodtown race is unique in style. Typically, rowers will compete 1,500 meters in a straight line while this event features three challenging turns along the legs of the Huron River, which offers a challenging opportunity for Rockford in their first outdoor event of the season. 

Many of the Novice (first year rowers) were looking forward to demonstrating the hard work they have been putting in with the kick-off of the spring season. Unfortunately, due to the high winds of the day, many of the events needed to be cancelled. With the scratched events due to weather, the regatta was only able to award gold medals for the remaining races. 

The Men’s Novice 4+ boat took gold and included athletes Conner Wolownik, Ty Maksimowski, Shane Johnson, Cole Rice, and Remington Bertelsen as coxswain. The Women’s Women’s Lightweight 4+ boat also took gold featuring Amelia Sundman, Chloe Merritt, Ally Kinstle, Sophia Stauffer, and Callie Perini as coxswain.  Many other boats also earned top three finishes. 

Head woman’s coach Dilan Itter congratulated the team for a job well done. 

“Great job, again, picking up the beginning of the season,” Itter told them. “Obviously, a lot of you guys have been on the water three or four times, especially you novice. Just seeing these fast teams is very good for you. Hopefully you athletes got to see what those fast shells look like when they are moving through the water and through the strong wind.” 

The weather offered an opportunity for rowing in unique conditions. 

“We’ve talked about how to row through the weather, how to get that length still, and stay in that nice strong set,” Itter continued. “You got to see a lot of fast racing.  Obviously, we didn’t get all the races in we wanted.  We apologize that some of us didn’t get to race today. Unfortunately, that’s just the way the weather was as that does happen. I appreciate all the effort you guys gave today, being great teammates. You are being positive with that. You are doing a great job dock and supporting everything. Appreciate you guys being here, being part of the team, I know it’s hard being the first regatta, as you wanted to show what you’ve been working on. A lot of you were here all spring break, working hard. Next week, however, you will get a lot of racing in so be prepared for that.”

The coaches are confident that the team will get faster with the hard work they are putting that work in. They see the work ahead of them and just have to make sure they are putting the work in day in and day out and keeping the focus.

The next regatta for Rockford Rowing will be the 24th Annual Grand Rapids High School Rowing Invitational, Saturday, April 27, in Grand Rapids. To learn more about the program, visit RockfordRowing.com. 


The Rockford Rowing Rams after their first regatta of the season in Ann Arbor, Michigan. ~ Photo by Aaron Sundman


Their first outdoor regatta saw these Men Novice Rowers taking gold: Conner Wolownik, Ty Maksimowski, Shane Johnson, Cole Rice, with Coxswain Remington Bertelsen. ~ Photo by Aaron Sundman


Junior Emma Laplante and senior Blake Jackson battling the high winds of the day. ~ Photo by Aaron Sundman