Seven years after fielding its first crew team, South County will send 15 rowers to compete in the National Scholastic Rowing National Championships this Friday and Saturday New Jersey.
The program, started by current head coach Mary King, enjoyed its most successful season to date and its rowers hope to end it win an impressive showing in the national competition.
King was first introduced to the sport as an adult and fell in love with it immediately. And it wasn’t too long after that she caught the urge to coach the sport. After various stops at programs around the region, she settled in at South County when the school opened in 2005.
“South County is in my neighborhood so I decided to start a program here,” King said.
Stallion rowers fared well at the Virginia Scholastic Rowing Championships earlier this month. Out of the six boats the school sent to the event, the junior four boys and junior four girls won the gold medal and qualified for the Scholastic Rowing National Championships.
Last week, King and the Stallions travelled to the historic Stotesbury Cup Regatta, held on Pennsylvania’s Schuylkill River, where nearly 200 schools from across the nation participated in the nearly ninety-year old event. The junior four boys team, competing alongside 61 other teams, rowed its way into a spot in finals. And after waiting nearly four hours due to restarts, nabbed the silver medal in the 1500 meter race.
“I’ve taken the team to Stotesbury every year and last year we made it to the semifinals, but we’ve never made it past that,” she said. “The boys were confident that they might do well because of how well they did at states.”
South County’s junior four boys and girls teams will end its season this weekend at the National Scholastic National Championship. And after the enthralling experiences the team enjoyed this season, its underclassmen are excited to replicate this year’s success. For King, watching the program rise from its humble beginnings to seeing the fruits of her labor, is an experience that she isn’t likely soon to forget.
“I have a couple of kids who have never played sports before in their lives and have come out to the crew team because we don’t make cuts,” she said. “Our kids really understand what rowing is about. They know how hard it’s been and the amount of time they’ve put into it. So for me to see so many kids fall in love with the sport, and to pass it down to them, it feels great.”