San Diego Rowing Club’s local high school rowers race to three second-place finishes

San Diego Rowing Club varsity men raced to three early season second-place finishes in a competitive field at the Head of the American Regatta east of Sacramento.

SDRC varsity men’s boats for the Quad (four rowers, eight oars) Lightweight Double (two rowers, four oars) and Junior Double (two rowers, four oars) placed ahead of several top-rated regional and national crews.

In posting a time of 18:17 on a rainy and wind-swept 5,000-meter course, the SDRC varsity Quad placed second only to U.S. National Champion Seattle Rowing Center in a field of 16 boats. SDRC topped reigning Youth Nationals silver medalists Stanford Rowing Center.

SDRC’s Jack Piegza (Bishop’s School), James Jacoby (Point Loma High School), Cooper Ball (La Costa Canyon High School) and Zander Cowan (San Diego Jewish Academy) battled wind gusts of 30 mph in the morning’s hotly contested race.

Benton Sparks, SDRC men’s varsity coach, said early season results of the four rowers who traveled to compete in the regatta on the American River are a good indication of the progress being made by all athletes of the 36-member varsity men’s team.

“The entire squad has really been hitting it hard in practice this fall,” Sparks said. “These four boys got to prove why. It’s a great result for the whole team and shows that we’re moving in the right direction.”

In the Junior Double, Jacoby and Cooper posted a 19:39 to earn a second place. National Champions Seattle Rowing Center took first.

In the Lightweight Double, Piegza and Cowan raced to a 19:51, taking second only to a pair of 25-year-olds training for the U.S. National Team.

SDRC wishes to thank longtime SDRC supporters Mary and Tom Sechser, who hosted the four SDRC athletes and coaching staff on the trip.

The SDRC Junior Crew, which has more than 125 members, rows on Mission Bay out of its boathouse on El Carmel Point in Mission Beach.

Visit or contact Chris Callaghan, SDRC director of rowing and head coach, at