The Holy Spirit High School girls lightweight-eight crew powered it’s way into a run for the championship Saturday at the USRowing Youth Nationals in Oak Ridge, Tenn.

The Spartans finished second in a semifinal race on Melton Hill Lake and qualified for today’s “A” (championship) final against five junior rowing clubs.

The Holy Spirit crew consisted of stroke Cailin McCully, Shannon LaSala, Katie Bainbridge, Victoria Light, Caroline Bradley, Nicole Maslowas, Sofia Iaconelli, bow Danielle Peck and coxswain Kiersten Stone.

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The women’s lightweight youth eight “A” final is at 11:55 a.m.

The St. Augustine Prep varsity eight placed third in a repechage (second chance) race in the men’s youth eight division and qualified for today’s “C” (second consolation) final.

The St. Augustine lightweight eight was sixth in its repechage and was eliminated.

The Holy Spirit girls lightweight eight was second in its 2,000-meter semifinal in 7 minutes, 14.98 seconds. Wayland-Weston (Mass.) Rowing Association won the race in 7:13.12.

“They settled in today and started hitting their stride,” Holy Spirit girls lightweight eight coach Rory Roberts said of the team. “Wayland-Weston had us by a length most of the way, and we started chewing on the lead. We almost had it at the end.”

Earlier in the day, the Spartans easily won a repechage race by more than nine seconds in 7:20.59 to qualify for the semifinal.

“It’s an encouraging sign for (today),” Roberts said of the semifinal. “We had to race twice, and the three other boats that had better times than us in the (two) semifinals only had to race once (because they won their preliminary heats on Friday). It should be an extremely competitive final.”

The St. Augustine varsity eight was clocked in 6:35.16 in its repechage. LPJ-Chicago won the race in 6:22.60 and Cincinnati Juniors was second in 6:29.09.

“We raced really well,” St. Augustine coach Ray D’Amico said. “We were near LPJ-Chicago and Cincinnati Juniors the whole race, but the last 500 (meters) they pulled away. These club crews are big, and they train for 2,000 meters (while high schools race 1,500 meters).”

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Been working with the Press for about 27 years.

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