Sports Talk: All in all, a fun day on river

Joe Tewkesbury thrives on coaching competitive rowing.

Placing first in a race on the water of course is always the goal.

But there’s another thing that’s important to the Marietta High girls crew boss.

“I feel better when you see a crew that rows well, wherever they finish, and the look on their faces when they come into the dock makes it’s all worth while,” Tewkesbury said. “That’s what I want to see.”

Tewkesbury saw a lot of those looks of satisfaction and smiling faces last Saturday at the Lindamood Regatta Cup at the Harmar Rowing Club. And, at the conclusion of the annual event in the late afternoon, his girls and coach Tanner O’Connor’s boys teamed up to claim the overall points trophy.

It was so fitting that the Marietta Tiger Navy won the Lindamood Trophy on the 50th anniversary of rowing at Marietta High.

The competition was stiff, too, with Saint Joseph Academy, St. Edward High, Fox Chapel, Shaker Heights High, Hampton High, North Catholic High, Parkersburg High and Parkersburg South all in the field. Saint Joe, an all-Catholic girls school in Cleveland, ended up winning the girls points trophy, while St. Ed, an all-Catholic boys school in Lakewood, captured the boys’ hardware.

“We’re running against some pretty good squads,” Tewkesbury said. “This is not going down the road and finding somebody to jump in a boat. These are crews that are coming after us.”

Tewkesbury paused.

“It’s the number of events you row and how you place in them,” he continued. “You can still win this thing and not even win a gold. You can do that by placing high enough in enough events.”

The MHS girls had their share of firsts at Lindamood, though.

“The girls light four, they didn’t row all that well,” Tewkesbury said. “When you have a day when you’re off a little bit, and still win, that shows you’re a pretty good boat.”

Tewkesbury smiled.

“We threw together a quad today,” he said “That might be the first time a quad’s ever raced at Marietta High School. and they ended up winning the race. OK we’ll take it.”

MHS was also a blurr on the Muskingum River in the eight; runner-up in the novice four, and third in the junior eight.

“I’m so very proud of all of the girls,” Tewkesbury said.

And, so was O’Connor of the boys.

“You know, it’s hard to compete with bigger teams when they have all the entries in,” he said. “We don’t have the numbers to enter in all the events.”

But MHS had enough, thanks to some creative crew coaching.

“We’ve done something a little bit different this year,” O’Connor said. “We’re racing up a category.”

O’Connor explained.

“We had a novice four race racing in a junior four and even though they got fifth out of five, they’re racing up in a category they shouldn’t even be competing in. They were in the field the whole time. We’re really pleased with that.”

The Tiger boys coach had other reasons to beam.

“We had a lightweight novice four who was racing up in the novice four category and they won,” O’Connor said. “Then, the junior four raced up in the varsity four category and finished second.

“Our freshman eight had a dual with St. Edward, which is only in their second year as a club as a program but they’re kind of established themselves at the top in the midwest. We’re in back a little bit of them but I was very pleased with the look of our rowing. Our rowing was a lot cleaner than St. Edward’s was.”

In the last race of the day, MHS finished runner-up to St. Edward in the varsity boys eight.

“They had an awesome race,” O’Connor said. “We just need to improve on our power and we’ll be in good shape there.”

O’Connor smiled.

“It was a fun and fast day,” he said.

And, that pretty much summed up the 2014 Lindamood Cup Regatta.

Ron Johnston is the Marietta Times sports editor, and can be reached at 376-5441 or at