OKLAHOMA CITY — OKC RIVERSPORT Junior Rowing Crew members Hannah Malzah, of Edmond, and Edmond Santa Fe student Sarah Ondak were selected by USRowing to represent the United States at the 2015 World Rowing Junior Championships in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in August.
“The World Rowing Junior Championships is the top of the pyramid for junior rowing,” said Brian Ebke, varsity girls coach for the OKC RIVERSPORT Junior Crew. “It’s an international competition, which is rare for juniors, and we’re excited to have two athletes representing both OKC RIVERSPORT and the United States in Rio.”
Malzahn and Ondak were among 30 rowers and five coxswains from across the country invited to the USRowing Junior National Team selection camp in New London, Conn., last month.
The USRowing selection committee culled the field to 16 rowers and one coxswain based on recent national team testing, compatibility with potential teammates, competitive performance during training sessions and overall performance at the selection camp.
An Edmond resident and recent graduate of Harding Prep in Oklahoma City, Malzahn was selected as the coxswain of the women’s eight, an event featuring eight rowers to a boat plus a coxswain, the oarless crew member responsible for steering and race strategy. Malzahn plans to attend the University of Tennessee this fall on a rowing scholarship as a coxswain.
Ondak, a junior at Edmond Santa Fe High School, was selected to the women’s eight as a rower or as part of the spare pair, alternates in case one of the original crew is unable to compete. The final placement of the crew will be decided in the next two weeks. With another year of eligibility, Ondak will be returning to the OKC RIVERSPORT Junior crew next season.
“Sarah coming back next year with that level of experience will be a great boost to our OKC RIVERSPORT junior crew,” Ebke said. “Making the national team is a very big deal, and having two of our athletes picked for the team really shows the world-class talent we have in Oklahoma City.”
The 2015 World Rowing Junior Championships will take place Aug. 5-9 on the Rodrigo de Frietas Lagoon in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the same venue hosting the 2016 Olympic Games regattas.