On a sunny day in April at Winton Woods Harbor, a dock was dedicated, a boat was christened, and opportunities were launched. With a bottle of sparkling cider in hand, Winton Woods High School crew coach Pat Riester christened Opportunities One, the high school’s new eight-person racing shell. Opportunities Too, a four-person shell, arrives this summer. The dedication ceremony, held April 13, was the culmination of a partnership between Winton Woods City Schools and Great Parks of Hamilton County. It’s a collaboration that has the high school’s girls’ crew practicing on Winton Lake this spring.
“I can't think of a better name to put on this boat then Opportunities One,” Riester said.
“We choose names for boats that embody their spirit. And by that I don't mean ‘rah-rah’ spirit, but I mean their essence. The absolute essence of this racing shell is the opportunity it will provide this crew. Right here, right now, it is providing them the opportunity to participate in something no one in this district has done: to become strong and use this shell to test themselves.
“Rowing is a sport that requires maximum effort, but using that effort efficiently. It's not cranking on the oars as hard as you can. It's about working together and moving together as one unit. This racing shell offers the opportunity to achieve those things. These athletes have the opportunity to build something extremely special.”
Corina Denny, community engagement coordinator for Winton Woods City Schools, said getting the girls’ rowing team on the water was a three year journey. “This started with the vision of district supporter and community member Paul Denning and our superintendent Anthony G. Smith,” said Denny. Both knew that starting crew at Winton Woods High School would mean scholarship opportunities for students.
Denning, a former crew coach at Xavier University, was aware that collegiate crew was looking for diversity in the sport and that scholarship dollars were going unclaimed. “I made a good Power Point presentation (for the district) and got everyone dreaming,” he said.
Senior Lauren Onianwa spoke for the rest of the team as she told those attending the ceremony that they hoped to make everyone proud. Winton Woods High School’s inaugural girls’ crew is Ramona Castro in the bow, Jasmine Johnson, Jada Ensley, Camryn Smith, Kira Stiggers, Kimberly Vargas, Lauren Onianwa, Aversa Prentosito (stroke) and Nico Prentosito (coxswain).
“We look forward to following these athletes into the future,” said Jack Sutton, executive director of Great Parks of Hamilton County.
PHOTO CAPTION: Cutting the ribbon at the dock dedication for Winton Woods High School’s inaugural girls’ crew are (l-r) Winton Woods City Schools Executive Director of Human Resources and Legal Affairs Courtney Wilson, Board President Jessica Miranda, Executive Director of Business Affairs Steve Denny, Superintendent Anthony G. Smith, Great Parks Exective Director Jack Sutton, Winton Woods Assistant Athletic Director Jeff Merrill, Winton Woods High School Principal Eric Martin, Winton Woods Athletic Director David Lumpkin, Crew Coach Pat Riester, Treasurer Randy Seymour, Winton Woods Harbor Master Dave Liedhegner and Great Parks Planning Manager Tim Zelek.