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Crew: Local boats race again today in Tennessee

The Holy Spirit High School girls lightweight-eight crew won its repechage race and then finished fourth in a semifinal Saturday at the USRowing Youth National Championships in Oak Ridge, Tenn.

The St. Augustine Prep boys varsity eight placed third in its repechage race and failed to make the semifinals.

The distance for all races was 2,000 meters - 500 more than in most scholastic events.

The annual event brings together the top high school and junior rowing club crews in the nation. Today's third and final day will have A, B and C finals in 18 divisions, with six boats in each race.

Holy Spirit made the women's youth lightweight-eight B final, which will be held at 11:47 a.m. St. Augustine will be in the men's youth-eight C final at 2:14 p.m.

On Saturday, Holy Spirit easily won its morning repechage race in 7 minutes, 5.061 to qualify for the semifinals. The Spartans were fourth in the fastest of the two semifinal heats in 7:10.404. The race was won by Oakland Strokes (Ca.) in 6:58.155.

Only the top three finishers in the two semifinal heats qualified for the A final. Pelham Community (N.Y.) was third in 7:08.134. Holy Spirit's time would have gotten second in the other heat, which was won by Community Rowing (Mass.) in 7:10.237.

Holy Spirit is in a 22-boat division that includes 18 rowing clubs, and the Spartans have outraced the other three high school boats.

"We had a good semifinal race, but we ran into some really fast crews," said Rory Roberts, Holy Spirit's girls lightweight-eight coach. "We were down by open water but closed it to half a boat behind second and third. I'm proud of them for the way they closed it."

St. Augustine finished its repechage heat in 6:14.130. Central Catholic (Pittsburgh) won in 6:11.130 and Chaminade (Long Island, N.Y.) was next in 6:11.633. The top two boats made the semifinals.

"We weren't too far back from Chaminade, but they had a good start and they beat us in the last 500 meters," St. Augustine coach Ray D'Amico said. "They (Chaminade) said they had a good race."