La Jolla high school rowers place third in national contest
Published - 06/24/14 - 08:54 AM | 4998 views | 0 0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Three La Jolla high school students are among a girls varsity team on the San Diego Rowing Club (SDRC) who brought home a bronze mover from the U.S. Rowing Youth national championships in Sacramento. The event was held three days earlier this month at Lake Natoma, near Sacramento, where top high-school-age rowers from across the nation raced on a 1.25-mile course to cap off the 2013-2014 season.

SDRC's time of 7:27 made the team the country’s third fastest women's youth boat in the 4x (4 rowers, 8 oars) division. SDRC Junior rowers Marissa Gibson, Mariko Kelly, Jillian Renly and Sarah Hoskin earned their medals after competing against 19 teams in multiple heats. The SDRC junior women advanced to U.S. nationals after racing to a gold medal in the same event at the Southwest Junior District Championships in May, beating a field of 30 women's teams in multiple heats.

“It was a tough weekend of racing,” said bow seat rower Kelly. “Going into nationals, we were seeded fourth, and knew we’d have to all pull together to be in medal contention. We did it for our coaches and for our dads. It was a fantastic Father’s Day gift.”

Kelly, of Del Mar, will be a senior at La Jolla Country Day next year. Gibson, a graduate of La Jolla High School, will attend the University of Wisconsin on a rowing scholarship this fall. Renly will begin her junior year at University City High School. Hoskin, a graduate of The Academy of Our Lady of Peace in San Diego, will head to Fordham University on a rowing scholarship.

SDRC Coach Benton Sparks led the varsity women to bronze at the U.S. nationals. Two-time Olympic gold medalist Susan Francia coached the women through their winning season, including last month’s gold at southwest regional championships.

The SDRC women’s varsity team rows on Mission Bay out of its boathouse on El Carmel Point. The club has novice and varsity teams for boys and girls.

SDRC is offering two-week "Learn to Row" camps in June, July and August that offer youth ages 10 to 18 a chance to enter the sport. No rowing experience is required. To learn more, please visit

SDRC is a nonprofit organization founded in 1888 to help develop and expand the sport. The club's Juniors program offers a chance to learn to row and trains students from dozens of high schools across San Diego County, who compete in races across California and Arizona.
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