On Friday, May 13th, The Knox School Crew team, along with Coach Katherine Faigan and Coach Stuart Guthrie, took a six hour drive up to Saratoga to compete in the New York State Scholastic Rowing Championships.
The team arrived at Union Gables, a beautiful Bed & Breakfast, where the owner, Artie, invited them to have dinner on the veranda. The team and coaches arose the next morning at 5 o'clock and the long-awaited day began.
Due to over 588 regatta entries, and more than 20 boats in each novice category, the first race was run as a time trial; boats were launched fifteen second apart and raced for time. In most categories, the heats feed a series of semi-finals and then finals. In the novice races, the heats went straight to finals, with only the top six moving out of the trials. Knox's first boat to race was their A Novice boat, followed by their B boat, then the girls Novice A.
The A boys, Tai Jin, Allen Jiang, Will Li, and Cyril Tao, had a fast trial, catching the boats that started both 15 and 30 seconds ahead of them. Though coxswain Rachel Kim demanded the slower boats yield to Knox, she was forced to steer around them, causing Knox to lose precious seconds in the trial. As Rachel Kim was unable to officially protest the interference while on the water, the coaches went to the official’s tent only to learn there was no cause for concern. The A boat had the third fastest time of the trials and was moving on to Finals!
The Boys Novice B crew, coxed by Karen Klossen and rowed by Peter Lee, Fred Xu, James Quan, and Owen Li, had an equally impressive race, knocking off the A crews from Cold Spring Harbor, Wappingers Falls, and Fayetteville-Manlius. The Girls Novice A boat, with Elijah Kim, Rachel Su, Cici Wu, and Blakely Smith, had the race of their season. After retrieving the boat from the boys, they had to race UP the course to make their event, turn immediately around, and race the trials. They came in a very respectable 15th with a very competitive time.
The crews then had time to relax and eat lunch before the novice A boat's final. As Knox explored the regatta site, they were approached by both coaches and regatta officials, who congratulated them on an epic achievement: making the finals at States in their first year of rowing. Though Rachel Kim coxed the boys into the finals, Karen Klossen coxed them in the finals. After the boys A took off for the starting line, Knox and its supporters lined the banks to cheer. The boys had never before experienced such intense competition. Facing the best crews in New York State, Knox held their own, battling crews from Long Island Rowing, Iona Prep, Bay Shore, Manhassett, and Albany all the way down the course to place third and win the Scholastic Bronze Medal!
“As a first year crew, winning a medal at the State competition is almost unheard of,” stated Coach Faigen. “We were touched by the kind congratulations Knox received not only from coaches, but from other teams as well. Overall, it was an incredible trip.”