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Hampton rowers continue upward swing by reaching nationals

| Sunday, June 18, 2017, 9:40 p.m.
Hampton rower Kate Mills took fourth in her heat at the Scholastic Rowing Association of America Regatta on May 26-27 in Camden, N.J.
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Hampton rower Kate Mills took fourth in her heat at the Scholastic Rowing Association of America Regatta on May 26-27 in Camden, N.J.
Hampton rowers Jamie Duff and Maya Bou Samra finished fourth in the semifinals of the high school varsity double 2x event at the Scholastic Rowing Association of America Regatta on May 26-27 in Camden, N.J.
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Hampton rowers Jamie Duff and Maya Bou Samra finished fourth in the semifinals of the high school varsity double 2x event at the Scholastic Rowing Association of America Regatta on May 26-27 in Camden, N.J.

The Hampton rowing team took a step forward by sending two boats to the Scholastic Rowing Association of America Regatta on May 26-27 in Camden, N.J.

Talbots assistant coach Brendan Luksik said it was unusual for the club to have that many qualifiers.

The Talbots earned their first medals in the regatta: silver, in a women's junior varsity double scull last season.

“Coming back this year and having two boats with three different girls qualify is great because it shows that the club is building talent across the board, and we're going in the right direction,” Luksik said.

“Some clubs annually make appearances at the SRRA. The efforts and results of the last two years make that goal much closer to reality for us.”

Seniors Jamie Duff and Maya Bou Samra missed making the final by one place in the women's high school varsity double 2x event. The duo finished fourth in the semifinals in 6 minutes, 10.910 seconds over 1,500 meters, about nine seconds faster than in their qualifying heat.

Senior Kate Mills missed the women's high school varsity single sculls final by two places, coming in fourth in 6:52.860 in her heat.

All three girls were making their first appearances at nationals.

Duff and Bou Samra (6:52.56) came in second in the Midwest championship May 13-14 at Dillon Lake in Ohio, and Mills was fifth in her final (7:16.66).

“By putting down the work indoors, focusing on moving the boat and having full confidence in themselves through every stroke of the race, these girls were able to go further than they expected themselves to go,” Talbots assistant coach Srikanth Schelbert said.

Bou Samra, an NCAA Division III Marietta recruit, said making nationals was a dream come true.

“Jamie and I have spent time rowing together since our freshman year, and we've become very good friends,” she said. “It's so much fun to row with her because we're always on the same wavelength.”

Duff said she never has been happier than when she and Bou Samra took second at regionals and advanced.

“I was so proud that all of our work and dedication had finally paid off,” said Duff, who is considering joining the club team at Pitt next season.

To row, Mills has overcome a condition in which her blood pressure drops when she stands up. She hopes to be a role model to others who have the affliction.

“I have come a long way over the past four years and am ready for many more years of improvement,” said Mills, who is thinking about continuing her career at Clemson.

Karen Kadilak is a freelance writer.

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