Central Catholic rowers to represent country at World Rowing Junior Championships
Three members of the Central Catholic rowing team are on the team representing America at the World Rowing Junior Championships this week in Trakai, Lithuania.
Michael Grady and Alex Miklasevich, who will be juniors in the fall, are part of the men's four-plus boat.
Jake Wiedemer, a senior, is a member of the men's eight-plus boat.
Team members were selected following tryouts.
Central Catholic coach Jay Hammond said it is the first time the school is being represented at the world championships.
“We've had rowers who've made developmental squads, but none who've actually competed,” Hammond said.
“We're really proud of the boys,” Central Catholic assistant coach Alan Meininghaus said. “It's hard reaching (the world championships).”
Grady, Miklasevich and Wiedemer were part of the varsity eight boat that claimed Central Catholic's first national gold medal in rowing at the Scholastic Rowing Association of America National Regatta in May in Camden County, N.J.
The boat went on to finish fifth at the USRowing Youth National Championships in June in Oak Ridge, Tenn.
Making their first international trips, Wiedemer, 17, and Miklasevich, 16, look forward to competing.
“I want to give an effort I've never given before,” Wiedemer said. “I never thought I would be here until about a month ago.”
“Our goal is to perform (as well as we have) in practice,” said Miklasevich, who is eager to win a gold medal.
The boys are happy to be on the same team.
“To share the experience makes it more enjoyable,” Wiedemer said.
“It's great to have two of my closest friends here with me,” Miklasevich said. “It makes going to a foreign country much easier.”
Rowers worked hard to prepare physically and mentally.
“Just having fitness is not enough,” Wiedemer said. “You need to have the right attitude and want it more than anyone else.”
The three rowers were among five from Central Catholic named to national teams this year.
Lucas Peilert, who will be a senior, was a member of the Junior Worlds Development team that trained and scrimmaged in small boats in Banyoles, Spain, the venue for rowing events in the 1992 Olympics.
Senior Matthew Kreps competed in the Canammex Regatta, which brought together junior teams from Canada, America and Mexico last month in Oklahoma City.
Peilert enjoyed rowing overseas.
“It was so neat meeting (other) rowers,” said Peilert, 17. “I learned a lot about how to adapt to another country.
“It felt good being really focused on rowing, with no distractions, and having the USA flag on my back.”
Karen Kadilak is a freelance writer.