Since becoming the Junior Program Director at Saugatuck Rowing Club four years ago, Sharon Kriz has established one of the most competitive junior programs in the country. The proof? Six rowers earned spots on national teams this summer, including five who represented the United States in the World Rowing Junior Championships last month in the Czech Republic.
"Every year, the level gets raised,'' says Kris, who rowed at Rutgers University and was a former member of the U.S. under-23 team. "The organization gets better every year."
Westport's Max Meyer-Bosse and Weston's Graham Anderson rowed for the U.S. on the men's quadruple sculls that finished 15th at the World meet. Westport's Susan Greenberg and Fairfield's Alex Zadravec rowed on the women's double sculls that finished 14th. Lizzie Youngling of Westport took seventh on the junior women's pair at the world's despite an incident with a crab that nearly capsized her boat. Melly Markovic of Fairfield rowed in the CanAmMex Games in Nashville, Tenn., a meet for athletes from the U.S., Canada and Mexico. The best news for Kriz is none of them graduate until next June.
The task for Kriz is to push the athletes to get better. She doesn't believe the young athletes will rest on their summer laurels. "They're starting to look at colleges, so that is important to them,'' Sharon says. "They were thrilled to be at the world meet and they raced well. They were OK with how they did, but they'd like to do better."
The experience the rowers gained competing against international opponents can help them, Kriz says. "There's nothing like race experience. There's nothing like lining up against real competition in a real race. You can try to simulate it, but you can't replicate race experience."
Photo: Left to right, Alex Zadravec, Lizzie Youngling, Melly Markovic, Susan Greenberg, Graham Andersen and Max Meyer-Bosse.
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