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Extra work pays off for Berkeley High rowing duo

By Jared Green, Daily Planet Staff
Wednesday June 12, 2002

Katsuura, Bice take third at national sculling competition in Cincinnati  


For most of the Berkeley High crew team, the 2002 season ended on May 12 at the Southwest Regional Junior Championships, where the ’Jackets claimed three medals. But that wasn’t enough for Yoshi Katsuura and Jordan Bice, who immediately threw themselves into training for the U.S. Rowing Youth Invitational. 

Not only did the pair keep training, they entered into the sculling competition for the Invitational, held in Cincinnati at Lake Harsha last weekend. Unlike crew races, where each rower controls one oar, scullers have two, making timing even more crucial to a fast race. 

Katsuura and Bice, despite never rowing in a sculling speed competition before, finished third in the final, going up against teams that practice solely for sculling competitions. They finished second in their qualifying heat, not good enough to make the final but good enough to enter the repachage, from which the top two boats would reach the final. The won that race by nearly two full seconds, giving them some additional practice before the championship race. 

Katsuura and Bice have been training for sculling since last year, but were unsure how they would match up against national competition. After leading the Berkeley High team to a dominating season, the pair were in for a much tougher time in Cincinnati. 

“The races were much more competitive than the high school races,” Katsuura said. “Everyone’s fast and the field is very tight. You have to be focused entire time. At regionals if you’re good you win easily, but at nationals you have to have best race of your life just to compete.” 

Katsuura and Bice started sculling just for fun, but as the top two rowers at Berkeley High, they soon found themselves putting up outstanding marks, which led to their berth at the Nationals. 

“We started training really hard in the last month and a half, and I knew we were getting some serious boat speed,” Bice said. “But we were definitely surprised at how well we did. We had success right off the bat, and we were able to follow our race plan.” 

With his high school career now officially over, Katsuura will focus on his college career. He’s headed to Cal, where he will join a team that has won four straight national championships. 

Bice, on the other hand, has a year left at Berkeley High. He plans to concentrate on training for the school crew team, as he is losing his sculling partner. Bice said he may continue to train for the two-oar sport by himself, but finding a new partner is unlikely. 

“I’ll probably practice over the summer and see whether I can be competitive,” he said. “But it takes a long time to mesh with somebody new, and I wouldn’t have a lot of time to practice it.”