Sand Diego Rowing Club women take home bronze

Rowing Club members (L-R): Mariko Kelly, Sarah Hoskin, Coach Benton Sparks, Jillian Renly and Marissa Gibson.

Varsity women with the San Diego Rowing Club have brought home a bronze medal from the U.S. Rowing’s Youth National Championships in Sacramento. The event was held over three days earlier in June at Lake Natoma where top high-school-age rowers from across the nation raced on a 2,000-meter (1.25 mile) course to cap off the 2013-2014 season.

The club’s time of 7:26.852 made them the country’s third-fastest Women’s Youth boat in the “4x” (4 rowers, 8 oars) division. Junior rowers Marissa Gibson, Jillian Renly, Sarah Hoskin and Mariko Kelly earned their medals after competing against 19 teams in multiple heats. The club’s junior women advanced to U.S. Nationals after racing to a gold medal in the same event at the Southwest Junior District Championships in May, beating a field of 30 women’s teams in multiple heats.

“It was a tough weekend of racing,” said bow seat rower Mariko Kelly. “Going into nationals, we were seeded fourth and knew we’d have to all pull together to be in medal contention. We did it for our coaches and for our dads. It was a fantastic Father’s Day gift.”

San Diego Rowing Club Coach Benton Sparks led the varsity women to bronze at U.S. Nationals. Two-time Olympic gold medalist Susan Francia coached the women through their winning season, including last month’s gold at Southwest Regional Championships.

U.S. Nationals was the final competition as club rowers for two varsity women: Gibson, a graduate of La Jolla High School, will attend the University of Wisconsin on a rowing scholarship this fall, while Hoskin, a graduate of the Academy of Our Lady of Peace in San Diego, heads to Fordham University on a rowing scholarship. Two rowers will return in the fall: Kelly, of Del Mar, who will be a senior at La Jolla Country Day School, and Renly, who will begin her junior year at University City High School. Visit www.sdrcjrs.com.


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