Sunny skies shone a bright light on the High Point Autumn Rowing Festival, presented by Bethany Medical on Sunday as the world watched the Ukraine Olympic Women's Rowing crew race Duke University for the Dr. Lenny Peters International Cup.
Over 700 rowers ages 11 to 83 years raced in 294 boats around the winding Oak Hollow Lake race course, making it the biggest rowing festival held in High Point yet.
Race Director Gene Kininmonth was delighted with how the event came together.
"This took a lot of amazing folks working together to make this happen. It started with Dr. Lenny Peters providing his patronage to raise this to an international standard," said Kininmonth. "The goal is to make this event the Wyndham of High Point."
Duke University Coach Megan Cooke-Cargano offered to bring her NCAA ranked women's team to High Point to take on a guest national team crew. "With a US crew established, we then literally flew the Ukraine national team rowers out of the war zone in Kiev, via Warsaw, Poland to High Point," said Kininmonth.
Ukraine was eager to race in High Point. "We wanted to come to the USA to say 'thank you' to the American people for all their support of our country," said Ukraine rower Nataliya Dovgodko."
The race for the Dr. Lenny Peters International Cup was a closely fought one between Ukraine and two Duke crews, with Ukraine prevailing in the end in front of a delighted contingent of Ukraine supporters.
Duke University's Head Coach Megan Cooke Carcagno said the racing was invaluable to her squads preparation for the 2023-2024 season. "We had an amazing opportunity today. Not only were we able to get a race under our belts and learn from all that entails, but we got to meet, shake hands and celebrate this wonderful sport with the Ukrainian National Team. I can't even imagine how hard it is in their world right now, so to spend the day together was an absolute gift."
"Hats off to Gene Kininmonth and his club for hosting such a beautiful event. We can't wait to keep getting better tomorrow," said Head Coach Megan Cooke Carcagno on the fall season opening race.
After the main race Ukraine joined 5 Duke University crews for a 250 meter Dash.
Not only did Ukraine race Duke on Sunday but they also divided their eight-woman crew into fours to race visiting high school girls' crews in a 250m DASH at the end of the day. We are so grateful to the Ukraine rowers for sharing this experience with these young female rowers.
In other racing results, UNC Chapel Hill finished first and second in the men's collegiate eights event. The University of South Carolina took bronze with High Point University and NC State rounding out the field.
The University of South Carolina won the women's collegiate eights race with HPU taking the silver.
In youth racing highlights, Triad United's Calvin Hrycay won the U17 single sculls race and then turned around to double with teammate Andrew Mattern to win the Men's Youth U19 Doubles event ahead of Coastal Virginia and Beaver Creek Sculling (Charlottesville, VA).
Triad United's Sophia Franks and Ali Bleakney then doubled up to win the Women's Youth U19 Doubles Sculls event in a big field of boats ahead of Charlotte and Triangle (Raleigh).