Oklahoma City, OK - After a long, hot summer of training Dallas United Crew’s (DUC) Varsity crews are ready to race. The Head of the Oklahoma, now in its eighteenth year, is the traditional start of regional racing and draws teams from as far as Houston, California and Wisconsin. Unique to this venue, the top six crews in marquee events qualify to race at OG&E’s Night Sprints, an electrified, high-velocity, five-hundred-meter dash.
The daytime, four-thousand-meter course winds through eleven bridges, including that of a working railway and Interstate 35. Coxswains must navigate the shortest possible course, passing slower boats without yielding time; imprecise steering or poor planning can cost the race.
In the Varsity Boys races, the Fours race foreshadowed the marquee event, the Eights. DUC’s Fours took silver and bronze mere seconds behind regional rival, Jesuit Prep’s first Four. DUC’s Eight is a young, but accomplished crew, having earned bronze in the under-seventeen category at Head of the Charles last year. The first of three DUC Eights, they beat Jesuit by five seconds to qualify for Night Sprints.
In the Varsity Girls head races, DUC’s crews had their hands full. The five-time USRowing Central Regional Champions took bronze in the Fours and the Eights, yielding gold in both events to an emerging powerhouse, Austin Rowing Club (ARC).
As the lights came up on Night Sprints, the mood became festive as thoughts of stamina and perseverance were washed away by the anticipation of all-out speed. Rowers donned face paint and wrapped their biceps in glow-rings in celebration. New this year, crossing the finish line triggered a fan of fireworks to hail the victor.
DUC’s Varsity Girls delivered the upset of the night, overtaking ARC’s top Eight in the last one hundred meters to win by a mere four-tenths of a second. Pyrotechnics rewarded their determination. In the Boys Eight, DUC fended off two determined Jesuit crews to take gold by a full deck. Again, fireworks boomed for the crews in blue.
Next up for DUC’s Varsity crews is Head of the Charles River (HOCR) in Cambridge, MA. HOCR is the world’s largest regatta, notorious for the difficulty of its course. Competition is by invitation only.
Dallas United Crew is North Texas's largest and most successful youth rowing team with thirty six regional titles and seventy one collegiate recruits. Comprised of over one hundred rowers DUC draws from more than twenty-five area high schools. For more information, visit www.DallasUnitedCrew.org