Hayley Prescott is looking to add to her collection of medals at Saturday’s Head of the South Regatta. She has an ulterior motive as well.
The Lakeside High School senior, who has been rowing for five years, is competing in three races in Saturday’s regatta on the Savannah River. Prescott is planning to win each of her events and turn the heads of college coaches.
“I’m trying to get a rowing scholarship,” she said. “It’s going to be very competitive. I like it because it’s a home race.”
The Head of the South is the last event of the fall season for the Augusta Rowing Club. Michael Cobb, the coach of the Junior Rowing Club and manager of The Boathouse, said he expects about 500 entrants for the race.
The Augusta Junior Rowing Club features a roster of 56. That’s a good number, Cobb said, but not enough rowers to earn enough points to win the overall Head of the South. Instead, he hopes his juniors will improve on last year’s sixth-place finish.
Augusta State University will return to the regatta, with an entry in the women’s collegiate and club novice 4+ event. The club is in its second semester on the water after being defunct for five years.
“Rowing is growing in the Southeast,” Cobb said. “We’re getting there.”
Allison Lemon, a Fox Creek High School junior, and Lindsay Crute, a junior at Davidson Fine Arts Magnet High School, said they are excited about competing in Augusta. Nickolas Fahrion, an 18-year-old, home-schooled student from Appling, said competing at home adds a layer of stress.
“Yeah, there’s pressure,” he said. “You don’t want to lose at your home regatta.”
With this being its last event of the year, the Augusta Junior Rowing Club will take a break from its four-day-a-week practices. Team practice resumes in January as the rowers will prepare for regionals and nationals later in the spring.
Though the next official practice will be held in two months, Fahrion isn’t planning to take a break. Instead, he’s going to continue lifting weights and working on the rowing machine at The Boathouse. He added that the dedicated rowers will be the ones who make the voluntary workouts a regular habit.
“It separates people who care,” Fahrion said, “from the people who just have to be here.”