Over the years, when Marietta High has been pitted against either Parkersburg High or Parkersburg South on the athletic field, it's been predominantly a land rivalry.
In the spring, though, water can be added as a surface of competition with the crew teams from each of the schools going head-to head-to -head on either the Muskingum River in Marietta or the Ohio River/Little Kanawha River in Parkersburg.
At 10 a.m. Saturday, MHS Tiger Navy will be hosting the navies of the Big Reds and Patriots in a season-opening triangular at the Harmar Rowing Club on Gilman Avenue.
RON JOHNSTON The Marietta Times
Marietta High rowers’ Amanda Ferguson, left, and Hailey Carman, right, help haul a shell to the Muskingum River in a regatta last season. Both are now Lady Tiger seniors and will row in the varsity lightweight eight in Saturday’s season-opening regatta against visiting Parkersburg High and Parkersburg South.
Everyone - coaches and rowers alike - is anxious to get the season underway, to see what they have and what needs to be worked on in practice.
"For me personally this is always an exciting weekend for several reasons," said Marietta boys' coach Tanner O'Connor. "It's the first race of the year. I really enjoy the friendly competition between South and PHS.
"In rowing we don't get to compete against many schools that the other sports at MHS do. Having this race is fun for the athletes because of the chance to race against a MHS rival. This regatta is also a great opportunity to see how athletes can react to a racing environment before we get into the heart of racing season."
The MHS boys' team boasts 23 rowers and three coxswains - Chrissy Billingsley, Damon Blair, and Greg Temesvary. Only three seniors - Josh Burke, Taylor Davis and Cian Stryker - are on the roster, making it overall a relatively young crew.
According to O'Connor, the team "dislikes losing" and should be competitive all season long.
On the girls' side, there are 18 returnees and 14 new members. Hailey Carman and Hannah Gammon are the co-captains, while Taylor Thieman, Jazzy Metcalf, and Kammy Morrison are the coxswains.
After graduation, Carman will be rowing lightweight at the University of Charleston (W.Va.).
According to MHS girls' coach Joe Tewkesbury, the team "should be as strong as last year's team," which went undefeated until the championship race.
"Although we have far less water time than last season because of weather and river conditions, everyone has had similar issues," Tewkesbury said.
After this weekend, the Tiger Navy is scheduled to be on the road at the Walter Mess Regatta at the Occoquan Reservoir in Fairfax, Va., April 5.
The orange and black crew will be back on the waters of the Muskingum River April 12 when it hosts the Lindamood Cup.
Both PHS and South are expected to be in the field of Marietta's second home regatta.
"It's always a fun and relaxed day," said O'Connor of Saturday's tri-regatta. "I hope to see good support for the Tiger Navy during our first of two home regattas."