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Capital Crew sends three boats to nationals

By: Matt Long
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Capital Crew, the junior rowing association based out of the Sacramento State Aquatic Center on Lake Natoma at Highway 50 and Hazel, will send three boats to the national championships. The men’s varsity 8, the men’s lightweight 8 and the women’s pair will all travel to Cincinnati for the national finals to be held June 12-14. The men’s varsity 8 boat is made up of Derek Kelley, Preston Sandbakken, Matt Schiller, Tim Fuson, Sam Dommer, Alex Smith, Drew Madden, Zach Antunes and Michael Monrean. The Crew placed a close second in the 2,000-meter race at the Southwest Junior Championships held on Lake Natoma May 9-10, finishing in 6 minutes, 5.73 seconds, just .72 seconds from behind Newport Aquatic Center. The men’s lightweight 8 boat, which is for rowers weighing less than 155 pounds, placed third in their race in 6:13.28, coming from dead last 500 meters into the race to earn a spot at the national championships. The Crew passed the Pacific Rowing Club, the Long Beach Junior Crew and the Oakland Strokes in the last 750 meters to take third by three seconds. “We weren’t expected to do anything, but we really pulled it together,” team member Austin Grove said. “We had a horrible start, but I believe everyone on that boat didn’t want to finish last. Once we passed one boat, we didn’t want to finish fifth and so forth. “It was a very fast time for us.” Grove, a 17-year-old junior at Folsom High, said he believes a good rowing team is made up of athletes who are willing and able to go passed the “wall” and put it all on the line, even when they’re exhausted. “After the first 500 meters, everything hurts,” Grove said. “It felt so awesome and was so amazing to place third and qualify for nationals even though I was so tired.” Members of the boat include Grove, Patrick Daly, Jeff Friesen, Steen Sorenson, Alex Cosentini, Sean Dougherty, Nick Taylor, Chase Lemmos and Drew Madden. The women’s pair of Alexa Farafontoff and Aggie Nowinski finished second in their race in 8:14.16 and also qualified for nationals. Farafontoff and Nowinski finished three seconds behind the winners from the Pacific Rowing Club and just .46 in front of the third place team from the Deep Water Rowing Association.