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SEATTLE – For the first time since 2004, both the Washington men’s and women’s rowing senior classes won the feature races at Class Day, taking home the George M. Varnell and Seattle Times Trophies, respectively, Saturday morning on sun-drenched Montlake Cut.
The Class of 2023, which saw its first Class Day cancelled due to the pandemic in 2020, each won competitive races on the 122nd edition of the annual start of the spring rowing season.
Here’s a look at the two races, along with the two preliminaries.
The Seattle Times Women’s Eight
A crew of juniors and fifth-year seniors took the lead in the very early going, but clashed oars with the sophomores in lane four. In the meantime, the seniors in lane one moved in front before they reached 500-meter mark and, by 1,000, the seniors had a full-length lead.
As the crews entered the Montlake Cut, the seniors maintained a full-length lead, but the junior/fifth-year crew didn’t yield entirely, keeping the gap steady.
In the final half of the race, the crews maintained their places and pace with the senior class, which had won as juniors in 2022, rowed to the win, in a time of 6:24.755. The senior boat was crewed by coxswain Carina Baxter, Abby Adebiyi, Nikki Martincic, Angharad Broughton, Elena Collier-Hezel, Gabby Engel ’25, Renee Hopper, Haley Stoker, and Victoria Park.
“On paper, it looked like the seniors were the team to beat,” said UW women’s coach Yasmin Farooq. “They took the lead and never looked back. The fifth-year/junior boat did protest the race. They had some oar-clashing with the sophomore boat 200 meters in to the race … they requested a re-row; it was not granted. It’s Class Day, and any issues will have to be settled on land.”
The fifth-years/junior boat finished a length back in 6:28.907 with the sophomores third and the freshmen fourth.
George M. Varnell Men’s Eight
All four crews raced through the 500-meter mark well in contention, with the seniors holding the lead at that point. In the second 500, the senior class opened up a full-length lead over the juniors, with the freshmen crew racing in the lane in between fighting for second place, close behind the juniors.
By 1,000 meters, the seniors had the race in hand, and the fight for second place was on. By the midway point, the freshmen had caught the juniors, and the Class of ’26 managed to hold off a tremendous challenge for second place.
The seniors won with a time of 5:39.444, eight seconds ahead of the freshmen (5:47.450), who beat the juniors by less than a length. The sophomore crew was a relatively close fourth.
The winning Senior Class crew was made up of coxswain Zach Casler ’22, Michael Thiers, Jack Walkey, Logan Ullrich, Ethan Blight, Pablo Matan, Adam Krol, Max Mason, and Max Heid.
“It was more dominant than I thought it was going to be,” said Washington men’s coach Michael Callahan. “I was really pleased with how they raced.
“I was reflecting yesterday,” Callahan continued. “This was a group that had its freshman season canceled and here they are winning Class Day. it’s a great group.’
Women’s Varsity/Novice Challenge
The women’s classless race was a tight one for the entire 2,000 meters, as two mixed-class fours raced neck-and-neck for the entire distance. In the end, a crew consisting of Isabelle Tinsley ’26, Cait Whittard ’26, Shannon Strasmann ’26, Brianna Hoffman ’25, and coxswain Grace Murdock ’23 held off a crew of four freshmen and one junior for a one-seat victory.
The winning four finished in 7:31.065, less than one second in front of the second-place finisher (7:32.047). An all-freshman four finished in third place.
Men’s Varsity/Freshman Challenge
The first race of the day featured four coxed fours, which included one boat made up entirely of freshmen and three others with mixed classes.
A crew of mixed classes – Nils Vorberg ’22, Louis Gallia ’24, Joel Cullen ’23, Gus Ashcraft ’25 and coxswain Kieran Joyce ’25 – earned the win, finishing with a time of 6:28.867. In a close race for second, a crew of four freshman an alumni coxswain Adam Gold ’21, which was in front at both the 1,000-meter and 1,500-meter buoys, finished less than a half a second in front of a crew of all freshmen. Another mixed-class four finished fourth.
As a part of the Class Day weekend, Washington announced its team captains and winner of awards for top GPA and most inspirational, as well as a new award, the Katy Wallace Memorial Award for the women’s team’s top walk-on athlete. Here are the winners:
2023 Team Captains
Women: McKenna Bryant
Men: Jack Walkey
Pigott Award Winners (Most Inspirational)
Women: Claire Marion
Men: Michael Thiers
Schaller Award Winners (Highest GPA)
Women: Claire Marion
Men: Kieran Joyce
Katy Wallace Memorial Award (Top Women’s Walk-On Rower)
Leah Nash
Up Next
The UW men will travel to Chula Vista, Calif., for a spring break camp, where they’ll take on UC San Diego in a relatively informal dual regatta on Tue., March 21. The women will host the Husky Open next Saturday, March 25.
Class Day Lineups
Race 1 – Men’s Varsity/Freshman Challenge
Lane 1: Classless M4+
Boat: Lou Gellermann
Stroke: Connor Shoup ’25 (Steilacoom, Wash./Steilacoom)
3: Addison Smee ’26 (Kalama, Wash./Kalama)
2: Jay Olson ’26 (Longmont, Colo./Mead/Colorado)
Bow: Samuel Husarik ’26 (Puyallup, Wash./Emerald Ridge)
Cox: Athena Baches ’24 (Bellevue, Wash./Newport)
Lane 2: Classless M4+
Boat: Empacher 4+
Stroke: Nils Vorberg ’22 (Hamburg, Germany)
3: Louis Gallia ’24 (Sacramento, Calif./Jesuit)
2: Joel Cullen ’23 (Chilliwack, B.C./Sardis/UBC)
Bow: Gus Ashcraft ’25 (Seattle, Wash./O’Dea)
Cox: Kieran Joyce ’25 (Hamilton, New Zealand)
Lane 3: Freshman Class of 2026 M4+
Boat: Lil’ Husky
Stroke: Oliver Black (Sacramento, Calif./Jesuit)
3. Tommy Igo (Alameda, Calif./Alameda)
2: Max Taylor (Brisbane, Australia)
Box: Kiefer Law (Bellingham, Wash./Sehome)
Cox: Lilly Kurtz (Seattle, Wash./Holy Names Academy)
Lane 4: Freshmen/Alumni M4+
Boat: Empacher 4+
Stroke: Ewan Morrow (Seattle, Wash./Garfield)
3: Luke Collins (Poulsbo, Wash./Bainbridge)
2: Marc Tennesen (Seattle, Wash./Lincoln)
Bow: Ethan Walsh (Philadelphia, Pa./Roman Catholic)
Cox: Adam Gold ’21 (Seattle, Wash./Seattle Academy)
Race 2 – Women’s Varsity/Novice Challenge
Lane 1: Classless W4+
Stroke: Isabelle Tinsley ’26 (Venice, Fla./Collegiate)
3: Cait Whittard ’26 (St. Catherines, Ont., Canada)
2: Shannon Strasmann ’26 (Orange Co., Calif./Corona del Mar)
Bow: Brianna Hoffman ’25 (Poulsbo, Wash./North Kitsap)
Cox: Grace Murdock ’23 (Roswell, Ga./Milton)
Lane 2: Classless W4+
Stroke: Margaret Young ’26 (San Anselmo, Colo./Williams)
3: Jordan Poces-Bell ’26 (Naperville, Ill./Metea Valley)
2: Katey Krisky ’26 (Beaverton, Ore./Mountainside)
Bow: Claire Surbeck ’24 (Bellevue, Wash./International)
Cox: Camille Randall ’26 (Seattle, Wash./Seattle Prep)
Lane 3: Novice W4+
Stroke: Madison Hanahan (San Jose, Calif./Archbishop Mitty)
3: Ellina Ivanova (Calabasas, Calif./Calabasas)
2: Lily Brecht (Seattle, Wash./Seattle Prep)
Bow: Cora Madison (Kirkland, Wash./International Comm.)
Cox: Mia Carter (Evansville, Ind./Reitz Memorial)
Race 3 – George M. Varnell Men’s Eight
Lane 1: Seniors Class of 2023
Shell: Warren Helgerson ’52
Cox: Zach Casler ’22  (Newport Beach, Calif./Newport Harbor)
Stroke: Michael Thiers (Seattle, Wash./Roosevelt)
7: Jack Walkey (Victoria, B.C., Canada)
6: Logan Ullrich (Auckland, New Zealand)
5: Ethan Blight (Auckland, New Zealand)
4: Pablo Matan (San Jose, Calif./Bellarmine Prep)
3: Adam Krol (Toronto, Ont., Canada)
2: Max Mason (Redmond, Wash./Redmond)
Bow: Max Heid (Seattle, Wash./Seattle Prep)
Lane 2: Freshmen Class of 2026
Shell: Husky
Cox: Tess Kadian (West Bloomfield, Mich./West Bloomfield)
Stroke: Ryan Smith (Hannover, Germany)
7: Finn Griskauskas (Chesterfield, Mo./Marquette)
6: Cameron Tasker (Norwich, England, U.K.)
5: Povilas Juskevicius (Kaunus, Lithuania)
4: Ben Shortt (Auckland, New Zealand)
3: Lyle Donovan (Milton, Ga./Cambridge)
2: Ryan Martin (Newport Beach, Calif./Pacifica Christian)
Bow: Nick Smyth (Cincinnati, Ohio/Walnut Hills)
Lane 3: Juniors Class of 2024
Shell: Husky Clipper
Cox: Nick Dunlop (Sydney, Australia)
Stroke: Gus Altucher (Portland, Ore./Cleveland)
7: Blake Bradshaw (Auckland, New Zealand)
6: Darcy McCluskey (Brisbane, Australia)
5: Robert Pluijmert (Dieren, The Netherlands)
4: Archie Drummond (Twickenham, London, U.K.)
3: Caleb Cowles (Newport Beach, Calif./Newport Harbor)
2 Abe Eligator (Larchmont, N.Y./Mamaroneck)
Bow: Giulio Acernese (Rome, Italy)
Lane 4: Sophomores Class of 2025
Shell: William Peter Allen
Cox: Casey Neumann (Pacific Palisades, Calif./Palisades)
Stroke: Marius Ahlsand (Oslo, Norway)
7: Harry Fitzpatrick (Auckland, New Zealand)
6: Quinn Hall (Chester Springs, Pa./Malvern Prep)
5: Jonathan Wang-Norderud (Oslo, Norway)
4: Parker Raines (Sammamish, Wash./Skyline)
3: Luke Henry (Bellevue, Wash./Singapore American)
2: Blake Vogel (Pittsburgh, Pa./Central Catholic)
Bow: Alex Gonin (Victoria, B.C., Canada/Oak Bay Secondary)
Race 4 – The Seattle Times Women’s Eight
Lane 1: Seniors Class of 2023
Shell: Title IX Tenacity
Cox: Carina Baxter (El Dorado Hills, Calif./Oak Ridge)
Stroke: Abby Adebiyi (London, England, U.K.)
7: Nikki Martincic (Newtown, Australia)
6: Angharad Broughton (Cardiff, Wales, U.K.)
5: Elena Collier-Hezel (Buffalo, N.Y./Park School/Michigan)
4: Gabby Engel (Milwaukee, Wis./Whitefish Bay)
3: Renee Hopper (Preston, Wash./Issaquah)
2: Haley Stoker (Bellingham, Wash./Bellingham)
Bow: Victoria Park (Bellevue, Wash./The Bush School)
Lane 2: Freshmen Class of 2025
Shell: King Kong
Cox: Olivia Murdock (Roswell, Ga./Milton)
Stroke: Luella Bowerstock (Austin, Texas/Austin)
7: Mira Calder (Victoria, B.C., Canada/Claremont)
6: Sofie Sand (Rochester, Wash./Rochester)
5: Dani Lohrenz (Minnetonka, Minn./Minnetonka)
4: Izzy Peters (Ferndale, Wash./Squalicum)
3: Cami Martin (Seattle, Wash./Nathan Hale)
2: Caitlin Hane (Irvine, Calif./University)
Bow: Claudia Horton (Olympia, Wash./Olympia)
Lane 3: Fifth-Years & Juniors Classes of ’22 & ’24
Shell: Kit Green
Cox: Nina Castagna (Cincinnati, Ohio/Walnut Hills)
Stroke: McKenna Bryant (Kent, Wash./Kennedy Catholic)
7: Dimitra Tsamopoulou (Athens, Greece)
6: Madi Frampton (Tumwater, Wash.)
5: Ella Cossill (Waikato, New Zealand )
4: Claire Marion (San Marcos, Calif./San Marcos)
3: Jeri Rhodes (St. Louis, Mo./Michigan)
2: Briana Hopper (Seattle, Wash./Holy Names/Cornell)
Bow: Grace Vander Griend (Bellingham, Wash/Sehome)
Lane 4: Sophomores Class of 2025
Shell: Title IX Sisterhood
Cox: Nina Pathak (San Ramon, Calif./California HS)
Stroke: Leah Nash (Chatham, Mass./Monomoy)
7: Aisha Rocek (Como, Italy)
6: Jordan Freer (Lotus, Calif./El Dorado/UCSB)
5: Ava Meuleman (Seattle, Wash./Roosevelt)
4: Molly Wiser (Leavenworth, Wash./Cascade)
3: Madison Ohm (La Grange, Ill./Lyons Township)
2: Eliza Perry (Bellingham, Wash./Sehome(
Bow: Brigit O’Rourke (West Seattle, Wash./Vashon Island)

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