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Rockford Rowing Earns Spots at Nationals Regatta

By Patricia Sundman, 05/12/19, 10:00PM EDT


Rockford Rowing Team after two dedicated days of racing. ~ Photo by Aaron Sundman

The Midwest Scholastic Championship was hosted, Saturday May 11, and Sunday, May 12, at Dillon Lake, Ohio.  Rockford Rowing travelled to participate in this highly respected regatta where 12 state in the Midwest are invited to send their top boats for competition. The stakes are high as this is the opportunity to qualify for a spot to compete at Nationals on Memorial Day Weekend.  As thousands of spectators lined the shore of Dillon Lake to cheer on their teams, Rockford’s Cow Bell could be heard as many Ram boats achieved great success during races on Saturday and Sunday.

Rockford sent 20 boats down the course against tough competition down the 1,500-meter course. The women’s team placed 14th overall in their category, and the men placed 28th out of 49.  Much pride was felt by the friends and family members of the athletes and the team should be very proud of their accomplishments. Fourteen of Rockford’s entries proceeded to semi-finals and a total of six boats raced in the finals competition Sunday. 

Once again, Rockford Rams earned gold at the prestigious competition. The women JV 8+ boat placed first in the Midwest, earning gold medals for Chloe Merritt, Amelia Sundman, Amanda Skarda, Sophie Stauffer, Hannah Burmania, Courtney Mathis, Ally Kinstle, Avery Sluiter, and Coxswain Callie Perini.

The women Lightweight Varsity 8+ boat earned silver, with Kahlan Dukes, Madison Boss, Mackenzie Rutdzsxgers, Emma Bray, Chloe Merritt, Amelia Sundman, Ally Kinstle, Sophia Stauffer and Coxswain Rory McMahon.

Senior Emma Lassig earned bronze in the Women Varsity 1x Final.

While head coaches Dilan Itter and Tucker Anderson expressed their pride of the tremendous effort displayed, focus quickly shifted to the next Regatta. A potential repeat of State Championships is on the line as Rockford prepares for the State Championship at the Scholastic Rowing Association of Michigan Championship Regatta on May 18 on the Grand River at Riverside Park in Grand Rapids. The women’s team will be defending their two-year run as State Champions and are ready to three-peat. The men’s team is staged to make a ferocious run at the State Championship as well and are ready to add another year to their banner. 

Following the State competition, Rockford will then send qualifying boats to Nationals followed by CSSRA Championships in Canada where they will conclude their successful 2019 season.

To learn more about the program, visit

Moments after Silver Medal Success with tears of joy from Sophie Stauffer, Ally Kinstle, Amelia Sundman, Emma Bray, Senior Mackenzie Rutgers competing in her last Midwest competition, and Madison Boss. ~ Photo by Aaron Sundman

Ally Kinstle, Sophie Stauffer, and Amelia Sundman Dabs to celebrate the Lightweight Varsity 8+ Silver Medal. ~ Photo by Aaron Sundman

Team Motivator and Inspirational Speaker Garrett Floerchinger providing a pre-race speech. ~ Photo by Aaron Sundman

Congratulations to Graduating Rockford Rowing Senior Mackenzie Rutgers earning silver in her last Midwest Competition. ~ Photo by Aaron Sundman

Rowers taking a break in-between races to strategize for the day. ~ Photo by Aaron Sundman

The Men's JV 4+ Boat with Chris Neihoff, Jake Janssen, David Baker, Joe Saenz, and Coxswain Allison Ziemba. ~ Photo by Aaron Sundman

Rockford Senior Emma Lassig earning a Bronze on her final Midwest Race. ~ Photo by Aaron Sundman

Gold Medalists Coxswain Callie Perini, Amelia Sundman, Amanda Skarda, Head Coach Dilan Itter with the First Place Plaque, Hannah Burmania, Avery Sluiter, Courtney Mathis, Sophie Stauffer, Chloe Merritt, and Ally Kinstle. ~ Photo by Aaron Sundman

Rockford Senior Sophia Smith Representing the Orange Oars of the Rockford Rams. ~ Photo by Aaron Sundman