Cascades rowers make B finals at Canadian University Championships

The University of the Fraser Valley rowing club sent two boats to the Canadian University Rowing Championships on the weekend, and both participated in the B final in their respective divisions.

The regatta was hosted by UBC at Burnaby Lake, and drew 277 athletes from 18 universities – from Victoria in the west to St. Francis Xavier (Antigonish, N.S.) in the east, and many points in between.

In the men’s pair, the Cascades duo of Stephen Wall and Mitchell Wierks finished fourth in the B final in the time of 7:44.18. The UFV women’s pair of Erin Steele and Karen Chung were sixth in their B final, clocking in at 8:49.47.

Cascades head coach Liz Chisholm noted that the Wall-Wierks duo had the potential to qualify for the A final, but Wall has been battling a shoulder injury throughout the fall which impacted his fitness level and flared up on the day of the time trials.

“He gave it a Hurculean effort,” Chisholm said. “They were neck-and-neck with the team that came in second (a Calgary Dinos entry) until the last 700 metres of the B final. Finals race day had a pretty significant cross-wind which made everyone’s times slower than the day before.”

Steele and Chung also battled the wind, which was pushing them off their line and made steering a struggle.

“It was the first time they’ve been at CU’s, both of them,” Chisholm said, noting that the ultra-athletic Steele has only been rowing since January. “The learning curve sometimes happens within a weekend, which it did to a certain extent. I think it bodes well for next year, with these athletes coming in with more experience and time spent in some adverse conditions.”

The Cascades also sent rowers to the Head of the Lake regatta in Seattle on the weekend, but the races were cancelled partway through the morning due to stormy weather.

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