IRC rowing team makes major impact in junior nationals


Charles Boldt had to be pushed to give rowing a try.

“I got into it because one of my buddies from middle school did it,” Boldt said. “It took him a while to get me into it. I said, ‘No, I don’t want to do it. I have cross country.’”

But Boldt eventually gave it a try, made friends quickly and was hooked. He competed in cross country at Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School as a freshman before switching his full attention to rowing. A 2024 Brebeuf Jesuit graduate, he was on an Indianapolis Rowing Center four-person team that finished fifth in the quad June 6-9 in the men’s youth (under 19), the top division in the USRowing Youth National Championships in Sarasota, Fla.

Boldt, who moved from Zionsville to Carmel six months ago, was the only graduate, as the other rowers were Brebeuf Jesuit classmates Kayden Coddens, Indianapolis; Jack Foltz, Westfield; and Fishers High School’s Ryan Miller, who will be a senior. Miller, who is 6-foot-6, is being heavily recruited by colleges.

“Charles is a once-in-a-lifetime athlete for a coach,” Indianapolis Rowing Center coach Mike Burroughs said. “He’s obviously one of the best in the nation. He’s a tremendous leader on the team.”

Last year, Boldt was on a four-person quad team that placed fourth in the under 19 category.

Boldt, who will row for Columbia University, has twice competed in the junior world competition.

“You combine Boldt with Ryan Miller, an exceptionally fast athlete, that’s been the core of that boat,” Burroughs said.

Burroughs came back with his second stint as juniors head coach in August 2023.

The Indianapolis Rowling Center took 31 participants to USRowing Youth National Championships. Twenty-three were under 17 and eight were under 19.

“We have five boats, and every one of them was in the 30 in the country, just a tremendous result,” Burroughs said. “All the kids said they had delivered their best race of the season in the finals, which is all you can ask for. They’ll continue to work hard to improve on that next year. They got to see what it takes to compete at the national level. They are all excited about returning next year.”

Boldt has twice competed on the U.S. Junior Rowing Team, competing in world competitions in Milan, Italy and Paris.

“I raced in the quad last year in Paris and ended up 12th two years in.the single and got 15th in the single in Milan,” Boldt said. “All that has allowed me to get faster and more knowledgeable in the sport, and I tried to bring that back to our club in Indy.”

Hope Witzig, who will be a Zionsville Community High School junior this fall, was in her first nationals.

“I was very nervous just qualifying for nationals, but it was really exciting to go with the whole team and cheering each other on,” Witzig said.

Witzig’s team finished fifth in the Women’s Eight in its C final, placing 21st overall.

“We qualified at the Midwest Championship (in May in Cincinnati) and it was crazy that this lineup that had never really rowed together actually made it,” she said.

Witzig had played other sports until she started rowing two years ago.

“I really like the commitment of the team and being able to interact with people from other areas that otherwise I wouldn’t have talked to,” Witzig said. “I really enjoy it as an outlet, if my day is going amazing or my day is going bad, rowing is still there.”