Young and Hungry at Head of the Hooch

Chattanooga, TN - Junior and Masters Rower traveled to Chattanooga, Tennessee for the prestigious and exciting Head of the Hooch regatta. The 3rd regatta of the season, PTCRC raced in 24 total events. The race course, which is the same as the Chattanooga Head Race, is 5000m located in the Tennessee river. PTCRC came home with one 3rd place finish, and two 1st place finishes.

The Women's Youth 8+ getting hyped up before their race. 

Many clubs and teams come from all over in order to race at Head of the Hooch. This means our athletes are up against some of the toughest competition in the sport. Athletes as elite as Olympic level will race throughout the weekend. Some events had as many as 99 total boats. Needless to say, with over 2,000 boats racing over a 2 day period, this is a huge regatta.

Day 1 of racing was kicked off by the Men’s Masters 4x. The gentlemen experienced a long fog delay that pushed their 8:52 start time to over an hour later. After a hot and humid race, their final finish time was (18:08.51), putting them in 11th out of 17.

Men’s Masters 4x racing through some heavy fog. Sam Wheeler stroking, Quinton Gradek, Austin Brandon, and Mark Tremblay in bow.

Our 2nd Masters boat, which was scheduled to race at 11:15am, raced around 12:30pm due to the fog delay earlier in the morning. Megan Gradek raced in a Composite boat with some of her friends from Sarasota Scullers. The ladies brought the heat to the race course, finishing with a final time of (16:45.40). This won them gold in the Women’s Masters 8+ (50<). Their raw time would also put them in 1st place overall for the Women’s Masters 8+.

Coach Margie and the Women's Youth Novice 8+ walking up to the trailer after their race.

Both the Men and Women’s Youth Novice 8+ had excellent races. Our Men’s Youth Novice 8+ finished with a final time of (18:28.30), placing them in 17th out of 30. Just a few weeks prior, the men pulled (20:54.20) at the same race course, giving them a whopping (02:26) PR. The novice ladies were not too far off with a superb performance, finishing with a final time of (20:23.63), placing them in 13th out of 28. Their final time at the Chattanooga Head Race was (22:03.30), giving them a (01:39) PR.

Later that afternoon, the Men’s Youth 8+ set out for a fast and furious race. Finishing with a final time of (16:48.99), they placed 44th out of 76.

Day 2 of racing presented less fog, but very high winds and rough chop during the first 1,500m of the race. Masters Rowers Megan Gradek and Quinton Gradek, and Youth Rowers Caden Gradek and Trey Lewis expressed immense difficulty racing in their 1x events. “I had to start at 22spm, and could not bring it up until around the 1,500m mark” said Megan Gradek as she landed on the recovery dock. The smaller the boat is, the more difficult it is to keep the set and the easier it is to flip. This means when Mother Nature presents rough water conditions, the smaller boats are hit even harder than the larger boats.

Despite the weather conditions, Megan Gradek put out a good performance. Rowing against some familiar competition and good friends, Gradek finished with a final time of (21:51.98), putting her in 3rd out of 13.

Megan Gradek rowing 2 seat in the Women's Masters 8+ taking 1st in their event.

The MVP of the weekend goes to Megan Gradek, who raced in 3 races over a 2 day period. When racing in rowing, boats must row up to the start. At the Head of the Hooch race course, this adds an additional 5-6,000m of rowing on top of the 5,000m of racing. This means Gradek rowed more than 30,000m over the weekend. Gradek impressively medaled in each event: 1st in the Women’s Masters 8+, 1st in the Women’s Masters 4x, and 3rd in the Women’s Championship 1x.

The Men's Youth 8+ (A) mid stroke during their race.

Coach Matt and Coach Margie of PTCRC are happy with how the team performed, placing middle of the pack for most of the events. With only a handful of seniors, our athletes are very young. Our youth rowers have rowed for 2 years at the most. Most top boats in a rowing club are made up of rowers who have rower for over 3-4 years. The young club has come a long way in the last year, but there is still an immense amount of room for improvement. The coaches are certainly not content with the team’s speed and are ready to put in the work to get better. 

Peachtree City Rowing Club will travel to Augusta, GA on November 11, 2017. This is PTCRC’s final race of the Fall 2017. PTCRC anticipates a strong finish at this regatta.

Final Finish Times:
You can also find the full result sheet by clicking here.

Men’s Master 4x -
Men’s Youth 4+ - 20:23.78
Women’s Master 8+ - 16:45.40
Women’s Youth 8+ - 18:44.56
Men’s Youth Novice 8+ - 18:28.30
Men’s Youth 8+ (A) - 16:48.99
Men’s Youth 8+ (B) - 18:25.49
Women’s Youth Novice 8+ - 20:23.63
Women’s Youth 4+ - 21:52.7
Women’s Youth 2x - 21:49.14
Men’s Youth 2x - 21:11.33
Men’s Youth 4x - 19:07.61
Women’s Championship 1x - 21:51.98
Men’s Master 1x (43-54) - 22:13.41
Men’s Youth 1x (A) - 22:17.57
Men’s Youth 1x (B) - 22:39.84
Men’s Youth Novice 1x - 23:46.80
Women’s Masters 4x - 18:48.23
Women’s Youth 4x - 23:34.23
Mixed Youth 8+ (A) - 18:58.94
Mixed Youth 8+ (B) - 19:46.29
Mixed Youth Novice 8+ - 23:14.29