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Northville Rower Emily Tatge takes gold at State Championship

Cameron Ulrich (2nd, Men's Varsity Single), Laki Papoulis and Dilan Varghese (3rd, Men's Varsity Double), Emily Tatge (1st, Women's Varsity Single)
Cameron Ulrich (2nd, Men's Varsity Single), Laki Papoulis and Dilan Varghese (3rd, Men's Varsity Double), Emily Tatge (1st, Women's Varsity Single)

Northville Rowing Club has best showing yet with 3 boats earning medals

Grand Rapids, Michigan – Senior Emily Tatge claimed a gold medal in the high school women’s varsity single at the Michigan Scholastic Rowing Championships at Riverside Park on Saturday, May 17. The event included 4 boats and Emily won soundly, finishing 13 seconds in front of the Rockford’s Sabrina Van Fossen. Tatge will compete in the Scholastic Rowing Nationals next weekend, after qualifying with a 2nd place finish at the Midwest Scholastic Rowing Championships last weekend in Nasport, Ohio. The national regatta will be held in Princeton Junction, New Jersey and will include over 150 high schools and well over 450 entries in 30+ events.

In its 4th year of competition, Northville Rowing Club has ramped up its recruiting efforts and has a large group of freshman athletes. The MSRA Championships do not include novice events, so that limited NRC’s chance at finishing with medals for many of its boats. “There are many coaches whose teams participate in the MSRA who would like to see novice events included in the championship,” remarked NRC Director of Rowing Van Papoulis. “There are teams who don’t compete in this event each year because there are no novice events.”

The regatta hosts 15 teams from across the state of Michigan. The most experienced teams tend to come from downriver or the west side of the state. However, Ann Arbor boasts very competitive teams, as does Orchard Lake St. Mary’s and Cranbrook.

Even with the limited experience of the team, NRC had the most boats finish with medals in its short history. Junior Cameron Ulrich took silver in the men’s varsity single. Ulrich’s event included 5 boats with steep competition coming from Crestwood rower Tony Delgreco, who finished only 2 seconds faster than Cameron to earn first place.

Seniors Laki Papoulis and Dilan Varghese rowed to 3rd place, claiming bronze at what is now their final state championship. Both charter members of the rowing team, Laki and Dilan have rowed since freshman year. The competition was quite tough in the men’s varsity double, with 3 semi-final heats competing for a place in the finals. The seniors made it into the finals with 5 other boats and edged out the Orchard Lake St. Mary’s boat for the bronze medal.

NRC had 8 boats make it to the finals, including the women’s varsity single, men’s varsity single and men’s varsity double. The women’s lightweight 4, women’s lightweight 8, women’s varsity 4, men’s lightweight 8 and men’s varsity 4 also competed in final events.

Russ Miller, who is transitioning to the position of head coach, is more than happy with these results. “This spring has been a tough season with the weather keeping the team off the water due to temperature and winds. Our rowers worked hard indoors over the winter and the practice paid off.”

NRC will experience a loss of 10 rowers this spring as the seniors graduate. With a team of 40 rowers, that will make an impact. The team has focused on its recruiting efforts, however, and hopes to see a larger, more balanced team. “We started visiting the two middle schools last spring,” explained NRC president Ken Ulrich. “We had some of our rowers take one of our smaller boats and a rowing machine and let the middle school kids see this equipment up close. After our visit last spring we saw an increase in participation from incoming freshman.”

The team will also provide a “Learn to Row” camp this spring, for any Northville students between 6 – 11th grades. The camp will take place at NRC’s practice location at Ford Lake in Ypsilanti. “The beauty of rowing happens on the water,” Van Papoulis said. “For some kids, as soon as they get on the water they are hooked.”

You can learn more about the Northville Rowing Club and its Learn to Row camp at www.northvillerowing.com.

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