June 14th, 2023
Last week the Tulsa Youth Rowing Association traveled to Sarasota, FL, to compete at the USRowing Youth Nationals following successful finishes at the Central Districts Regatta held in Oklahoma City in May.
Youth Nationals is the pinnacle event in the national youth rowing season. Over 4,000 athletes competed at the event at the Olympic venue at Nathan Benderson Park—national titles were awarded in thirty-eight different boat classes.
Representing Tulsa were Bethany Klingeman (Booker T. Washington) and Caroline Briggs (Holland Hall) in the Women’s Junior Pair event, and Halee McMahan (Booker T. Washington) and Emory Oakes (Lincoln Christian) both entering the Junior Women’s Single event.
McMahan raced well and finished high enough on Thursday’s time trial to earn a place in the C final. She raced hard in the C final on Saturday to place 7th and ultimately finished 23rd in the nation. Oakes put in a strong performance to place 3rd in the D final, thus securing a 27th-place finish nationally.
“I’m so glad I was able to challenge myself at the national level again and see where I stand in the Women’s Youth 1x race. This experience only pushes me to work harder and hopefully qualify again next year with better results,” said McMahan of her experience.
“It was an incredible opportunity to row at USRowing Youth Nationals and an honor representing our team alongside some of my greatest friends! I am so grateful for this sport and team. We have made a lot of progress and improved this past year. I’m excited to see even more success with Tulsa Youth Rowing in the seasons ahead!” said Oakes.
Klingeman and Briggs also raced in the C final, placing 3rd and finishing 19th in the nation for their boat class. These athletes will move on to college rowing in the fall, earning scholarships at Stetson (Klingerman) and KU (Briggs).
“Rowing at Youth Nationals was an amazing experience! I am so proud of my teammates for all the hard work of getting there and how everyone gave it their all while racing in Sarasota. Also, a big shout-out to Coach Tino and all the effort, time, and dedication he has given to the program and the athletes to help us compete at the regional and national levels. I am grateful that I could end my time with TYRA on a high note!” said Caroline Briggs.
TYRA is currently running summer camps during June for those who seek an introduction to the sport. More information can be found here: https://www.okrowing.org/get-ready-to-row-at-tulsa-youth-rowing-associations-summer-camp/