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OAR rowers shine at regatta.

Byline: Adam Jude The Register-Guard

LOWELL - Standing alone atop a small hill, his hands on his hips, Dave Horton surveyed Dexter Lake's murky conditions Saturday afternoon with a discouraged look.

ROWING

By the end of the day, Horton and the rest of the Oregon Association of Rowers left the lake with much to be encouraged about.

The brisk wind and rain that forced an early afternoon delay in competition gave way to ideal conditions late at the 12th annual Covered Bridge Regatta, leaving host OAR with a number of good performances among a record field.

In particular, OAR easily won the Juniors team trophy for the first time after sweeping the women's Junior eights.

"Our juniors were looking really good today," said Yasmin "Yaz" Farooq, one of OAR's three volunteer coaches. "The kids all seemed generally pumped."

Horton, the regatta director, said OAR hosted 50 races for a record 24 teams and some 660 high school, college and adult masters rowers from Oregon, Washington and California.

"We've really blossomed from a smaller regatta ... to a deal where we've come really close to turning teams away," he said.

The regatta, one of the earlier events of the season on the Northwest rowing circuit, gives rowers a sneak peak at their rivals before the regional championships in May and June.

"This is a great first look at the competition," Farooq said. "These early sprint races really give you an idea of how you stack up."

OAR is stacking up well so far, particularly in the women's masters events, thanks to a new training regime coach Suzi Walter borrowed from the U.S. Rowing Team.

The Eugene-based club won the women's masters four and placed second in the eights.

"It's safe to say Suzi's training program is paying off," said Farooq, a two-time Olympian. "The masters four was the most satisfying win of the day."

Walter and Stacey Borgman, both of whom have competed for the U.S. Rowing Team, won the 1,000-meter women's masters double.

"That was probably the best rowing on the lake all day," Farooq said.

The OAR Juniors, a team made up of rowers from a half-dozen local high schools, won seven events and placed second in seven others.

After the hour-long weather delay, the OAR Juniors women's varsity and JV teams swept the eights while running neck-and-neck in the same heat.

"We were lined up with the varsity boat most of the heat, and that kept our confidence high," said JV coxswain Sarah Simonton, a junior at South Eugene High School. "When you're in a big meet like this and you're staying up with the heavier competitors, it keeps you motivated and your adrenalin high."

Farooq was especially pleased with the number of Junior competitors taking part in sculling events (in which the rower uses two oars).

"In the Olympics, a lot of the sculling in dominated by the Europeans," she said. "To see these sculling events and these kids doing so good at them is very inspiring."

The Oregon crew club team made a late push in the men's four but finished second (7 minutes, 21.79 seconds) to Seattle Pacific (7:16.10).

Grant Dull of the Bainbridge Island (Wash.) Rowing Club won the men's masters single, claiming the Ed Offchiss Memorial Award for the second year in a row.

Complete results will be published in the April 17 Community Sports section.
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Apr 9, 2006
Words:567
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