Pioneer crew team rows new waters at inaugural scrimmage


By Cathy Mizgerd

On Saturday, Sept. 29, the Pioneer High School crew team joined a friendly
local scrimmage on new waters. Hosted by the Northville Rowing Club, the scrimmage was set
on Kent Lake at Kensington Metropark in Milford. It was the first rowing competition
of its kind on the site in recent years.

“The state championship was held on [Kent Lake] a decade or so back,” said Rich Griffin, head
coach of the Pioneer Pioneers, “but other than that, there’ve been no rowing competitions on it,
to my knowledge.”

The Men’s Varsity 8+ boat rows strong. Photo by Tina Brinkel

The scrimmage included Pioneer, Saline and Northville high school crew teams. Participants
ranged in experience from novice to varsity and in grade level from ninth through twelfth.
The staggered-start races were three kilometers in length, presenting an early-season distance
challenge for all. Times were recorded, but no medals were awarded.

The course featured a water entry and exit on the picturesque and placid—if cool—Kent Lake
waters at Maple Beach. The weather was spectacularly sunny, though chilly. Early morning
temperatures hovered in the low 40s, reaching the high 50s by mid-afternoon. Mid-morning
winds from the west and southwest were mild at 5 mph early in the day, with gusts reaching
around 7 mph. By mid-afternoon, wind speeds increased to 10 mph from the west and northwest,
with gusts up to 15 mph.

The Women’s Novice 8+ boat pulls hard together. Photo by Jessica Sendra

Pioneer entered 26 boats in 15 of the day’s 20 races. In addition to men’s and women’s
four- and eight-seat boats, Pioneer boats included a men’s single, a women’s single, a women’s
double, and a mixed 8+.

Of the 26 Pioneer boats in competition, 23 placed first, second or third. Pioneer’s first-place
boats included: Men’s x8+, Women’s Novice 8+, Men’s Novice 8+, Women’s 2x, Men’s JV/
Junior/Lightweight 4+, Women’s JV/Junior/Lightweight 8+, Men’s Varsity 4+, Mixed Novice
8+, Women’s Varsity 4+, Men’s JV/Junior/Lightweight 8+, Men’s Varsity 8+, and Women’s
Varsity 8+. The Men’s Varsity 8+ had the fastest Pioneer time on the course at 9:16.

The Women’s Varsity 8+ boat shares the water with Northville. Photo by Tina Brinkel

Pioneer will face other area schools at its next scrimmage on Saturday, Oct. 13, on Devils
Lake in Adrian.

The Pioneer crew team will also host its annual Row-Along event, featuring rowing lessons and
river rides, on Saturday, Oct. 7. All are welcome — no experience necessary.

For details and to reserve your place, please visit

MAIN PHOTO by Tina Brinkel

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