High school teams row in the shadow of the Vergennes falls

A CREW FROM Champlain Valley Union High School rows in the Otter Creek Challenge races in Vergennes on Oct. 31. The annual competition is organized by the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum. Photo by Buzz Kuhns

VERGENNES — The Lake Champlain Maritime Museum hosted its annual Otter Creek Challenge youth open-water rowing race in the Vergennes Basin on Otter Creek on Oct. 31.
With a full moon in the sky, the Vergennes falls as a backdrop, and a crisp and wind-free 18 degrees for the morning start of racing, organizers described this Halloween event as truly spirited and action-packed.
In all, 147 high and middle school rowers from Mount Abraham Union, Vergennes Union, Champlain Valley Union, Rice Memorial, South Burlington and Burlington high schools showed up. Many wore costumes, all wore masks and rowed their hearts out, spirits were high, and the competition was lively, according to organizers.
Individual races were run in a time-trial format. Each team showed up for its own individual time slot over the course of the day, with boats and oars sanitized in between each heat. Race times were tracked in real time on a white board onsite, and also shared online through live updates on the Maritime Museum’s Instagram account.
Novice rowers raced a two-mile course, and intermediate and experienced rowers took on a three-mile Otter Creek course.
Low water levels created a wealth of obstacles along the way, making this annual race even more challenging for each team’s coxswain. But all the teams handled the course with skill and achieved great times for such a chilly day.
The division winners included:
•  Experienced Six-Oar: Burlington High in Northern Sun in 39:27.
•  Intermediate Six-Oar: South Burlington High in Annie O in 44:50.
•  Novice Six-Oar: Champlain Valley Union High in Jimmy D in 32:52.
•  Experienced Four-Oar: Vergennes in Resilience in 45:23.
•  Intermediate Four-Oar: Vergennes in Legend in 42:53.
•  Novice Four-Oar: Vergennes in Kate Walker in 33:46.

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