Mid-Atlantic Erg Sprints 2012 and (Women’s) Predictions

The Mid-Atlantic Erg Sprints are over.

They are posted at the Mid Atlantic Erg Sprint Site.

Best Performance of the Erg Sprints:

It is usually hard to find a “Best of” performance with so many rowers.  Not here.  One row stands out among the rest.

Event 42: Junior Women (Age 15) 1500 Meters.  Carolina Ratcliff  of Madison wins the event by 13.9 seconds over the second place finisher.  By the time the 10th place finisher came in (over 30 seconds later) – she would have already been out of the gym.

To put that in perspective, that is 64.4 meters ahead of the second place competitor.   By my calculations (if they were in eights) the second place finisher would be about 3.2 boat lengths behind.

That was a 4.3% margin of victory.  Secretariat won the Belmont by 3% and it was legendary. (OK – for all you young folks – Secretariat was the greatest horse that ever lived and his Belmont win was the greatest win ever.  I am also reminded of his incredible burst of speed in the Preakness – not unlike how the Madison Girls were able to pick off other teams mid-race with their fantastic eight last season.)

It was so good she would have WON the Junior Women (Age 16) event.  And had it not been for another Madison rower – Karen Munyan – would have beaten that field by nearly 10 seconds as well.  Two incredible efforts by two Madison rowers. Had Carolina not smashed the competition, Karen’s effort would have taken the top spot.  Karen Munyan’s race was incredible as well.

Another Strong Performance:

As I mentioned in my last post on the erg sprints, it is difficult to draw strong conclusions from the sprints because teams concentrate on different events, and participation by schools and rowers can be highly variable.

With many of their companions at St Albans rowing in the 20-minute row, the women of National Cathedral could be expected to use the same strategy.

Using that strategy, the women of National Cathedral placed 5 rowers in the top 7 spots of the 20 minute row (out of 64 total rowers.)  This compares to last year when their top 5 rowers placed within the top 24 (out of only 40 rowers).  Last year the National Cathedral women’s eight posted a distant 6th place in the Virginia Finals.  This performance leads me to believe they will be much stronger this year.

Some Predictions:

Clearly, Madison and National Cathedral stand out as potential powerhouses during this year’s season.  At this early stage I think both have to be considered contenders for tops spots in the events.

TC Williams took second in the Women’s Eight last year – but I had a hard time finding their rowers in the results (were many of them working the event?)

TJ took 3rd last year – and I was impressed by the strength of their Women’s team.  They clearly have talent (2nd and 3rd in the Junior Women age 17.)  One thing that impresses me about TJ is that they are always moving forward during the year.  While most other teams generally stay in the same position, TJ is often able to make incremental improvements – beyond other teams – during the regatta season.  I’m anxious to see what they bring to the lake.

Yorktown and Robinson – rounded out 4th and 5th last year.  Their attendance at the erg sprints seems too spotty to draw any conclusions.

Good performances are spread throughout the sprints from other teams, but there doesn’t seem to be any strong groupings which would indicate a strong team in the offing.

A final note:

One of the big qualifications here is that I don’t generally review the lightweight results during this evaluation.  Some lightweights will row in regular weight boats during the season.  At this stage it is really a shot in the dark. But – I will still take credit if I hit the target 😉


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