April 26 was a perfect, crisp Saturday morning for the annual Al Urquia Regatta.
More than 20 area schools had their shells on the Occoquan ready to race, but most of the day belonged to Thomas Jefferson School for the Math & Sciences.
The days first race began at 10 a.m. and by 2:20 p.m., TJ had won 10 out of the 10 events they had entered. Having the best time of the earlier heats and finishing more than two boat lengths ahead of Bethesda Chevy Chase in the finals, the mens 1st 8 appeared determined to make a serious run at repeating their 07 championship season.
Jeffersons chances of maintaining its reputation as one of the nations strongest crew teams looked promising as the mens 2nd, 3rd and 4th 8s also took decisive leads and were first to cross the finish line. Even the teams newest members appear likely to continue the teams legacy with mens Freshmen 8 placing second and the womens 8 taking first.
For the large block of TJ, TJ cheering fans, there was only one disappointment. After the womens varsity boat had won their earlier heat with the fastest time among fifteen 1ST 8s, the girls lost in the finals.
Earlier, Matt Shoop, the girls coach, had expressed his frustration over the seasons series of unfortunate events, including a broken seat, being hit by another boat and last minute lineup changes. Many of the boats rowers were on last years gold medal winning 2nd 8 at Stotesbury. Just once this season, Id like to get these eight girls in a race together. He should get the chance on May 10 when Jefferson and other area teams compete at the Virginia State Championships.