Sports

Rowing catches on among Snoqualmie Valley youth

North Bend athletes Sarah Williams and Andrea Volken row with their Sammamish Rowing Association teammates on their boat. Williams is second from left, Volken is second from right. The duo are among a number of young rowers getting notice in the Valley.  - Courtesy photo
North Bend athletes Sarah Williams and Andrea Volken row with their Sammamish Rowing Association teammates on their boat. Williams is second from left, Volken is second from right. The duo are among a number of young rowers getting notice in the Valley.
— image credit: Courtesy photo

The sport of rowing may be physically demanding, but it’s also one in which success comes quickly.

For the growing group of rowers from the Valley who compete with Redmond-based Sammamish Rowing Association, there’s a lot of work to be done, but the goals are crystal clear.

Among SRA rowers is Mount Si High School student Shelby Sellers, a junior this fall and also a star on the Wildcat girls’ basketball team. The Mount Si girls’ hoops program has seen several players in recent years take up the sport, and land college scholarships in it. Sellers wants to go down that path.

“I would really like to follow in some of the other successful rowers’ footsteps, and get a scholarship for crew like them,” she said.

Sellers has only been rowing about a year, but has already achieved significant success. Sellers helped her Women’s Novice 8 team win a regional title this spring.

That success has not come without a lot of sacrifice.

“Crew is a huge commitment and not everyone is cut out for the grueling schedule, but it really shows what you are made of,” said Shelby’s mom, Susan Sellers, who added that schedule includes daily practices every afternoon regardless of weather.

For another local teen, fellow Mount Si student Austen Bolves, the sacrifice is even greater. This sophomore to be has seen his efforts, including a commitment to early-morning practices, result in success, as he is competing this week in a national regatta with his novice 8 boat. His team also won in the regionals.

Bolves has only been rowing since February, and already has dreams about the future.

“I would love to receive a scholarship in rowing and compete at the collegiate level,” Bolves said by e-mail from Florida, where he was vacationing prior to competing in the national meet.

Rowing is a sport that one can quickly fall in love with, as in the case of North Bend’s Andrea Volken. According to her mom, Gina, Andrea started to row this spring and has decided to change her athletic goals.

“She has given up soccer to focus her energy solely on rowing. She is attending a rowing summer camp,” said Gina Volken.

Middle schoolers are getting in on the action. Matt Essig, who will be in eighth grade this fall at the new Twin Falls Middle School in North Bend, is part of the novice program. Even though he is among one of the younger rowers on the team, he has already made an impact. He won the award for most inspirational rower at the association’s awards banquet this spring, and his mom, Kellie, is not only pleased with that, but with the entire group’s efforts.

“We are very proud of the success that this group of kids has seen in such a short time,” she said.

These four teens aim to potentially be the next Emsky, Brevick, Eddings, or Herman, Valley rowers who have gone on to row in college.

Fall City’s Evan Herman, a varsity rower with SRA who graduated this spring from Mount Si, has been approached by the University of Washington and may make their freshman crew team.

“It is the ultimate team sport — great conditioning, ultimate teamwork, and camaraderie,” Herman said of the sport. “I have made life long friends.”

In addition to the five mentioned here, Fall City residents Blake and Bryana Herman (who are Evan’s brother and sister respectively), Alec Holt, Stu “Bruce” and Dayna Stuart, Snoqualmie’s Kaitlyn Absher, and North Bend’s James Norman, Zach Lindor and Sarah Williams also participate in the association.

The SRA will be holding a one-day class, 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday, July 26, for people ages 13 and older who want to give rowing a try. The class will teach participants the basics of the sport, including actual instruction on the water. The fee is $35. The course will be held at the association facilities in Redmond near Marymoor Park. More information and registration, visit www.srarowing.com/news/rowforaday.aspx.

We encourage an open exchange of ideas on this story's topic, but we ask you to follow our guidelines for respecting community standards. Personal attacks, inappropriate language, and off-topic comments may be removed, and comment privileges revoked, per our Terms of Use. Please see our FAQ if you have questions or concerns about using Facebook to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus

Read the latest Green Edition

Browse the print edition page by page, including stories and ads.

Oct 1 edition online now. Browse the archives.