Only a few high school crews made it to the "A" (championship) finals at the USRowing Youth National Championships in Oak Ridge, Tenn., on Sunday, but the Holy Spirit girls lightweight eight was one of them.

Most of the crews were junior rowing clubs, which can get top rowers from several high schools.

The Holy Spirit crew placed fifth in 7 minutes, 5.34 seconds in the 2,000-meter women's lightweight-youth eight final on Melton Hill Lake. The Spartans were the only high school crew in its division to make it to the "A" race.

Oakland Strokes (Calif.), won in 6:54.18, while Wayland-Weston (Mass.) Rowing Association placed second in 6:59.73. Third was Princeton National Rowing Association Mercer Juniors (7:00.73), and Los Gatos Rowing Club (Calif.) finished fourth (7:04.31).

The Spartans were unbeaten during the scholastic season.

"The final was extremely fast," Holy Spirit girls lightweight-eight coach Rory Roberts said by telephone. "They did a great job. The boat that won jumped out at the start, and it was a dogfight the majority of the race.

"The other boats started to pull away in the second half."

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.

"I told them after the race that I was proud of them for making it that far, and for being the fastest high school," Roberts said.

The St. Augustine Prep varsity eight finished fifth in 6:13.55 in the men's youth-eight "C" (second consolation) final.

The only other scholastic crews in the Prep's division on Sunday were Chaminade, from Long Island, N.Y., which was third in the "C" final in 6:11.08, and Central Catholic (Pittsburgh), which took fifth in the youth-eight "A" final.

The St. Augustine crew consisted of stroke John Ruskey, Alastair Watson, Dan Capone, Shane Dickson, Zack Seither, Austin Neri, Zach LaBarth, bow Dan Stinson and coxswain Brett Barry.

"We were leading at the 1,000 mark," St. Augustine coach Ray D'Amico said. "Then the wheels fell off a little bit. It's tough to stay up there the last 500. We went for it. We had a good race."

Contact Guy Gargan:

609-272-7210