Local rowing alumni excel in championships

- Posted on Jul 29, 2010 - 04:46 PM

A number of local rowing alumni have recently been putting in great performances across the collegiate, summer and international championship racing scenes.

Tucker Witt, who rowed for Gloucester High School and Mobjack Rowing Association, is now a member of the U.S. Naval Academy’s varsity lightweight men’s eight crew. At the Intercollegiate Rowing Association Championships, the culmination of the 2010 collegiate rowing season, Witt’s eight pulled from behind to within less than one second of winner Princeton for the silver, passing Harvard who took bronze in a photo finish of .9 seconds behind Navy. Finishing out the field were Yale, Georgetown, Dartmouth and Pennsylvania respectively.

In the college-age summer racing scene Mobjack and Mathews High rowers Jessica Fosdyck (now rowing for Tulsa) and Jessica Gaul (Clemson) joined the Intermediate Women’s Summer Racing Program at Thompson’s Boat Center on the Potomac River in Washington, D.C.

Training from June to July 14, the girls made Thompson’s top intermediate four and eight with Fosdyck stroke seat and Gaul second and sixth seat. At the U.S. Rowing Club National Championship in Oak Ridge, Tenn., the Mathews duo won the Intermediate Women’s Four over 3 seconds ahead of Penn A.C.

Two hours later, the girls stepped up to the open senior women’s eight to take the bronze against tough pre-elites from Vesper and Penn Athletic Clubs. In the last day of finals, Fosdyck and Gaul just missed the bronze in the open women’s four by .9 of a second, finishing behind Vesper B, Penn A.C. A and Vesper A entries.

In the World Championship National Team’s Elite Rowing arena, Mathews/Mobjack rowers Jimmy Sopko and Matt Muffelman continue to train towards making World Championship and Olympic boats. Sopko recently returned to his New Jersey training base after racing in an early World Cup series race at Lucerne, Switzerland, in the U.S. Men’s Lightweight Four.

Sopko and his boat mates found tough competition from the 25 other countries entered in the men’s lightweight four event. Putting in the ninth fastest time in the heats and 13th fastest in the semis, the U.S. entry won the C final making 13th overall. Across these 13 places there is only 5.5 seconds difference. The foursome has about six seconds of speed to pick up in their 2000-meter time to be competitive with the top five finishers from Great Britain, Denmark, Italy, Switzerland and Serbia.

With the 2010 World Championships taking place from Oct. 31 to Nov. 7 on Lake Karapiro in New Zealand, Sopko and the U.S. men have some time to find the six seconds they need. Meanwhile, long-time National Team veteran Muffelman has been training in Boston and is now in Oklahoma City with a select group for the men’s lightweight eight. Sopko and Muffelman are looking forward to the opportunity to represent the U.S. in New Zealand and they hope to compete in the 2012 Olympics in London.