Oakland rowing club wins 24th national title

A rowing club in the East Bay is celebrating the success of its athletes following a national competition in Florida, including a national title. 

The Oakland Strokes sent a record 69 athletes across nine boats to the US Rowing Youth National Championships last week, according to Oakland Strokes Rowing Board Member Joel Flory. The teams competed against more than 8,000 athletes from 240 clubs across the nation.

The Men’s Straight 4- came in first place in their race, marking the Oakland Strokes 24th national title since the organization was founded in 1974. 

The following is a breakdown of the organization’s wins at nationals. 

Women’s Team:
Varsity 8+, 11th place 
JV 8+, 7th place
U17 8+, 6th place
U16 8+, 5th place

Men’s Team:
Varsity 8+, 3rd place
JV 8+, 22nd place
Men’s 4-, 1st place
U17 2x, 8th place
U16 8+, 9th place

Jack Hume and Cosmo Hondrogen were on the Men’s Varsity 8 team that won bronze. 

"Sending so many boats to the national championship this year… it's not a normal thing," Hume said. "It's a rare thing. It’s truly a product of this incredible team we have."

The athletes train six days a week on evenings and Saturday mornings.

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"It’s pretty demanding, but honestly, in my life, it's given me a lot of structure and it's actually helped me succeed more in school, I would say," Hondrogen said.

The women’s team had a successful showing too. Mina Katzev is on the JV 8 team that placed 7th.

"We brought 36 women athletes and that was amazing," she said. "I think each boat outperformed themselves in the time trials to the finals.We really created like a family within our boat. We were all best friends."

Claire Von Metzsch is on the women's varsity 8 team.

"It really takes a village," Von Metzsch said. "The coaching staff, we wouldn’t be able to do it without them. The parents, the board, everyone is coming together for this one big goal. It's really powerful to see how it unfolds."

In addition to the success, the Oakland Strokes is sending more than 30 athletes to Division 1 universities in the Fall.