Just because North Dallas is landlocked doesn’t mean its students can’t dominate in crew. Ask any of the athletes from ESD, Jesuit, St. Mark’s, and Hillcrest High School who participated and placed in the U.S. Rowing Youth National Championships this summer.
“As a team, it was wonderful,” said ESD junior Julius Stener. “We all worked really hard for the last few weeks — and years — of our lives.”
ESD had three boats compete at the invitational competition in Sacramento, Calif. Stener’s boat placed among the top five race times overall.
“I didn’t know I would fall in love with it so much,” he said of the sport.
ESD’s coach, Cait Dunn, is a graduate of the school herself, adding a unique perspective to her coaching experience.
“I held onto what I learned,” she said. “I wanted nothing more than to come back to my alma mater and show them what my experience was like at ESD, because it was truly life-changing.”
One thing all the schools had in common, though, was the hard work required to make it to nationals.
“It was a great experience to represent our region and for our guys to push themselves to reach the next level,” Jesuit head coach John Fife said.
Jesuit sent an eight-man boat to the competition held June 13-15, which is open to club teams and schools. The team placed 17th out of 132.
“I’d say race for race, this was probably our best year,” Fife said. “They know the work they put in [during] those winter months will pay off in the spring.”
No doubt, that’s a sentiment shared by all the rowers.
Hillcrest High School graduate Collin McKinney began rowing with the White Rock Rowing club team his freshman year of high school.
He and his partner, Robert Bolt, won nationals this year in men’s youth pair.
“I was splashing water everywhere,” he said. McKinney will row at Temple University this fall. “It was very satisfying to know my hard work actually paid off and that for everybody who had supported us all the way there, we didn’t let anyone down.”
This story appears in the August issue of Preston Hollow People, on stands now.