Staying Connected Without Boats

Coaches gauge crews' early progress

10/11/2008 18:53



Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Ann Arbor

With just three high school rowing programs in the area, it's inevitable that they compare how they're doing against each other.

For a Saline program that's just starting its sixth season of competition, winning the Horton Cup earlier this month was a good sign.

With the Ford Lake competition among Pioneer, Huron and Saline on Sept. 20 changed to scores based on average times instead of place, Saline came away with the title of fastest in Washtenaw County for the first time.

"It meant a lot to me,'' Saline coach David Fiske said. "It says that we have a solid, small, strong program here and have something to build on.''

Fiske is excited about his group, which is more than half juniors and seniors.

With two boys back from the lightweight four boat that won the Midwest Championship and advanced to nationals last year, Fiske is hopeful for a return trip to this year's nationals in New Jersey in the spring.

Saline did not compete this weekend at the Frogtown Races in Toledo, while Pioneer and Huron saw how they stacked up against some of the top programs in the Midwest.

Pioneer had a first-place finish in mixed eight and was second in the boys first varsity four Saturday. Huron had a first place in men's lightweight eight and the mixed open eight, as well as a second place in women's novice four and men's novice four.

"It was a good day to tell where we are,'' Huron coach Tom Kraft said. "I believe we're faster than we were last fall, and that's kind of the goal, to get faster every year.''

Huron, Pioneer and Saline will all compete at a pair of regattas near Columbus, Ohio, next month before finishing up the fall Nov. 2 in Wyandotte

The fall is a "distance'' season, allowing teams to get used to the new personnel in their boats before returning after the waters thaw in the spring for regattas full of sprint events.

"We're trying to ascertain if we're going to be as strong as we were last year after losing so many seniors,'' Pioneer coach Rich Griffith said. "We had a lot of senior women. Our entire first boat had seniors.''

Heart screening

Chelsea Community Hospital will host a free heart screening program for high school athletes on from 8 a.m.-2 p.m Oct. 11. A blood pressure check and electrocardiogram will be performed, in addition to a physician listing to each patient's heart and taking a limited echocardiogram.

To schedule an appointment, call 800-633-7377. Technicians, physicians and staff are volunteering their time, and the hospital has donated the equipment to make these important tests free of charge.

College updates

Playing field hockey at the College of Wooster, Pioneer graduate Eileen Barrer earned North Coast Athletic Conference Athlete of the Week honors earlier this month. ... Chelsea native Austin Rogers was named the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association's Defensive Player of the Week for his efforts in Albion College's 13-12 football loss to Central College of Iowa. ... Albion junior libero Maggie Dusbiber (Chelsea) was named the MIAA's volleyball Specialty Player of the Week.