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Westport's Saugatuck Girls Win Gold In San Diego Regatta

Girls on the Saugatuck Rowing Club team celebrate after winning the gold medal in the Varsity 8+ at the San Diego Classic. Photo Credit: Contributed
Saugatuck coach Chase Graham (bottom left) stands in the water to exhort his girls crew after it won the San Diego Classic on Sunday. Photo Credit: Contributed

WESTPORT, Conn. -- The Saugatuck Rowing Club of Westport showed Sunday in San Diego its Girls Varsity 8 is going to be a contender for the national championship come June.

Competing for the first time this spring after a wicked winter, Saugatuck became the first East Coast team in four years to win the Women's High School Grand Final in the Varsity 8+.

The crew of coxswain Lexi Bralver, Genevieve Esse, Amra Sabovic, Margaret Manley, Lelia Boley, Will TenCate, Katherine Ratcliffe, Alison Morrison and Nica Wardel cruised home in 6:55.93. New Jersey-based Princeton/Mercer took second in 7:00.87.

Bralver, of Westport, and Manley, of Wilton, committed to attend the University of Virginia in December. Bralver attends Greens Farms Academy and Manley attends Greenwich Academy. Virginia is ranked No. 2 in the nation.

"We are very proud of what the girls were able to accomplish against all odds out in San Diego,' said Chase Graham, coach of the Saugatuck girls. "Given the little water time we had here at home, it was a great result."

Saugatuck's second Varsity 8+ nearly made it to the top of the podium as well. That crew finished second to Marin of Calif., by a margin of less than three seconds.

Last year, Saugatuck finished 11th in the country in the girls Varsity 8+. Saugatuck also was fourth in the country in 2013.

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