Grace Bentley and Sydney Gillman travelled to West Windsor, NJ, with coaches Harry Finch and Annie Devorak, to compete in the 2016 Youth National Championship, held June 10-12. Bentley and Gillman were one of 18 crews competing in the women’s 2- event.
The first day of racing was marked by high winds, resulting in the delay of the women’s 2- heats. The crews were at the starting area when officials decided to postpone racing, calling all crews back to the launching docks. When racing resumed more than 2 hours later, conditions had not improved much. Bentley and Gillman rowed in the second of three heats, battling choppy conditions while finishing 5th out of 6, with a time of 8:24.616. At the conclusion of their race, officials made the decision to cancel all races on the last day of racing (Sunday, June 12), due to the forecast of high winds for that day. This resulted in the repechage races being cancelled, and all races progressing to semi-finals or finals. With this change, Bentley and Gillman progressed to the ‘C’ final.
The conditions for the ‘C’ final race were much improved from the previous day. Bentley and Gillman, rowing in lane 4, held 3rd place for the majority of the race. With about 300 meters left, they were trailing 2nd place Texas by about a boat length, when they sprinted and began walking through Texas, eventually overtaking them to take 2nd place in exciting fashion with a time of 8:14.058.