Wales on U.S. Rowing team for World Championships

Islander wins two medals at Jr. Nationals in June

It has been a great summer for Islander Michael Wales.

For the second year in a row at the USRowing Junior National Championships on June 14 in Cincinnati, Wales returned to the medal stand to accept the gold medal in the lightweight men’s double sculls event. Last week, he was selected to represent the United States at the 2009 FISA World Rowing Junior Championships, Aug. 5-8, in Brive-la-Gaillarde, France. He and three other oarsmen selected from a small group of athletes at a selection camp in Princeton, N.J., and Wales will row with the national team’s junior men’s quadruple scull crew.

The 15th annual USRowing Youth National Championship Regatta included its largest field ever, with more than 1,600 high school and junior athletes from 144 programs. After winning both their heat and semi-final races, Wales and Aidan O’Sullivan pulled away from the field over the final 600 meters to win the race by nearly six seconds. An hour later, Wales stroked the Lake Union’s men’s quadruple scull in the grand final to finish third, wining a bronze medal in 6:27.42.

Wales, a senior this fall at Seattle Prep, rows for the Lake Union Crew rowing club and is coached by two-time Olympian Conal Groom. Last summer, he and his teammates brought home the gold in the men’s lightweight four, plus coxswain.

Other Island rowers participating in the event include Kyle Wunderland, rowing in Lake Union’s women’s quadruple scull. Wunderland and her teammates had their best race ever, finishing eighth in the nation with a time of 7:40.52. This was Wunderland’s second visit to the U.S. Junior National Championships. The women of the Mt. Baker crew had an impressive showing as well. Also returning to the national championship, rowers Lizzie Vincent and Margot Brown placed sixth in the women’s four plus coxswain grand final with a time of 7:46.82. Claire Ihle helped the Mt. Baker women’s lightweight eights row to ninth place with a time of 7:28.21. Islanders Cole Johnson, Thomas Ehlers and Robbie Cappelluto were 15th in the Mt. Baker Varsity eights with a 6:34.19 time.

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