North Hills High School seniors part of crew to reach national event
It was during a long, cold winter when Brad Walter and Greg Lewis began working toward a trip to sunny California.
The North Hills High School seniors and members of the Three Rivers Rowing Association pushed themselves and their teammates through grueling indoor winter workouts on rowing machines and in small paddling tanks, while knowing it all would pay off on the water soon enough.
“The winter season is our hardest time of the year,” said coach Steve McCarthy. “The training is the most intense, and it's the most boring because we're cooped up inside. Being inside and not on the water doing the hardest work of the season, those two guys really held everyone together.”
It all paid off at the Midwest Junior Rowing Championships held May 18 and 19 at East Fork State Park in Bethel, Ohio. Walter and Lewis punched their tickets to the USRowing Youth National Championships from June 13 to 15 at Lake Natoma in Folsom, Calif.
“They had the Midwest championships in mind even when the river was frozen,” said McCarthy, 25, of Fox Chapel.
Walter teamed with Tommy McNamara of Mt. Lebanon to take gold in the men's youth pair, while Walter, Lewis, McNamara, Quaker Valley's Dylan Redzanic and Avonworth's Will Graf teamed up to take third in the men's youth 4-plus. Graf served as coxswain, while his fellow seniors rowed. Both events are 1,500 meters.
Walter, 18, and Lewis, 17, are making their second trip to nationals. Walter and North Hills graduate Josh Hockenberry took second in the pair event and Lewis was on the four-plus that finished 13th at last year's championships, held in Oak Ridge, Tenn.
As of May 27, there were 13 other entries in the pair and 19 in the four-plus.
No matter the amount of opponents, Walter, of Ross Township, said he just wants to go against the best in the nation.
“For me, it really makes me want to work because I want to see how I stack up against these other teams,” said Walter, who received a partial athletic scholarship to row at Northeastern University in Boston, which is McCarthy's alma mater.
Experience could be a determining factor at the championships, a three-day event that tests the fortitude of its competitors.
“The series of races with (Friday) heats and (Saturday) semifinals and (Sunday) finals is different than anything else we do during the season,” said Lewis, who is bound for Penn State-Erie, which does not have a rowing team.
The ultimate goal is to make it to the Class A or “grand” finals to determine the overall champion in each event. After earning silver in the pair last year, Walter is on a mission to upgrade his medal.
“Definitely, making it to the grand finals is an expectation,” he said. “I'd like to get gold, but I don't know exactly how we're going to stack up until we're there.”
Ed Phillipps is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.