High school rowers take second place


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

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), Cooper Ball (La Costa Canyon High) and Zander Cowan (San Diego Jewish Academy) battled wind gusts of 30 miles per hour in the morning’s hotly contested race.

Coach Benton Sparks 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 supporters Mary and Tom Sechser hosted the 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. u —