New boat can’t stop ’Jackets
The Berkeley High crew varsity four-man boat finished fifth at the U.S. Rowing Youth Invitational Championships in Cincinnati last weekend, the school’s first appearance at the national competition.
Although the team entered both the two- and four-man events in Cincinnati, the overlapping members decided to concentrate on the four-man, according to Mick Renner, the organization president.
“It was apparent that it was impossible to do well in both events,” Renner said. “The two rowers (sophomore Jordan Bice and junior Yoshi Katsuura) had to make a decision on their own out on the water. They decided to reserve their strength for the four-man boat.”
The four-man boat consisted of Bice, Katsuura, David Gaber, Eric Davidson and coxswain Matt Renner.
The members of the four-man had to make a big adjustment in the final event of their season. Their regular boat has the coxswain positioned to the rear. But they were unable to take their own boat, and the boat they used at the nationals had Renner in the front, unable to see his rowers.
The change nearly proved disastrous in the first heat, as Berkeley took an early lead but steered into a lane marker and struggled to the finish line. But by the second heat, they had made their adjustments and came from behind to finish in second to qualify for the finals.
“It was hard getting used to a new boat and a new scenario, but it worked out well,” said Matt Renner, a senior who will be on the Cal crew team next year along with Davidson. “I think I actually prefer it now.”
The ’Jackets finished the final race fifth out of six competitors.
“I figured they’d all be fast boats since it was the national championships, but I had a feeling we’d do well,” said Matt Renner, a senior. “This is definitely the high point of my crew career.”