7th & 8th Graders

This is page is here to help clarify participation by Arlington County middle school athletes with the team.

7th Graders

Unfortunately 7th graders are not allowed to participate in high school sports. We get frequent questions from athletes and parents on the topic. We feel as well, that although 7th graders have the coordination to learn to row, their developing bodies are not prepared for the rigors of training at this level. Athletes interested in the sport are advised to look into learn-to-row camps, located throughout the country, as a way of introduction to the sport. Visit Row2k.com for lists of camps. One local camp is run by the St. Albans and National Cathedral School crew. It is open to 6th-8th graders. More information can be found here. Parents my contact coach Ted Haley at 202-497-7417.

8th Graders

8th graders are welcomed and encouraged to come out for the team. However, there are a few important points athletes and parents should be aware of-   8th graders are treated in all respects related to the team as Freshman athletes but with a few exceptions:

  1. 8th grades are accepted on the team, however if the number of athletes on the team as a whole exceeds the equipment resources of the team, 8th graders may be excluded or have limited water time during the regular spring season. This determination is made each spring.
  2. 8th graders are allowed to row for their designated home high school- the school they will attend as Freshmen. Gunston/H-B students compete for the school they would attend if they did not attend Gunston/H-B. If you are unsure which school you or your athlete will attend as a Freshman, please contact your middle school counselor or the W-L Activities office.
  3. We evaluate each athlete more closely and apply training and workout intensities as appropriate to the individual, including potentially restricting the frequency with which they row on the water. Our goal is help each athlete develop as  appropriate to their physical and emotional maturity. The coaches reserve the right to prioritize the  9-12 grade W-L student-athletes as appropriate.
  4. By VA state, and APS, policy 8th graders may only compete in boats designated as “novice.” Novice is defined as a first year rower of any age or grade, with no previous experience competing in the sport. 8th graders are not allowed to compete in Freshman specific boats, lightweight specific boats, nor boats that are part of the JV/Varsity progression (1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th varsity crews). This is normally not an issue as novice boats are a regular part of our squad.

All 8th graders are encouraged to participate in our Fall Green Day/Open House rows and Winter Conditioning if they are not taking part in an organized sport at their middle school or at W-L. These opportunities will provide a good introduction to the sport and prepare them for the fitness required of rowers as well. However, any interested athlete is welcome if they are interested and ready for a new challenge!