Parkersburg High crew team dedicates boat to late teammate
By JEFF SAULTON, The Parkersburg News and Sentinel
PARKERSBURG, W.Va. (AP) — Current and former members of the Parkersburg High School Big Red Crew came together this past Wednesday to celebrate the memory of a teammate and friend who died in an automobile accident last year.
Morgan Grimm, who graduated from PHS in 2016, will be remembered after a new four-man boat was dedicated in her honor.
Jason Bailes, president of the PHS Crew Boosters, said Morgan meant a lot to those associated with the team.
“Morgan was our captain in her senior year and won a lot of championships and races,” he said “She was a very influential person and very dedicated and a great team leader.”
Bailes said a new four-man boat was purchased through donations and was dedicated in Grimm’s honor.
“It will bring us championships for years to come,” he said.
Coach Jim VanAllen said former coach Les Pritchard was behind the acquisition of the boat and to have it dedicated to Grimm’s memory.
“Morgan was a great athlete, great teammate, great captain and leader not only on the woman’s side but for the whole team,” he said. “We have this to honor her spirit and determination for the classes that follow.”
Grimm was a freshman at West Virginia University when she died, Van Allen said. He said she was a member of the WVU rowing team.
“She had just finished up a rowing practice when she was coming home to Parkersburg,” he said.
Bailes said the team has organized a regatta in her honor
“Her former teammates rowed in a missing-man boat for her,” he said.
Grimm’s parents, Nevella and Jeff Grimm, said the day was hard for them to describe.
“We are extremely blessed,” she said. “I can’t even put into words to be honest; it’s just overwhelming.”
Jeff Grimm said they were touched by how the community responded.
“We’re just taken aback they would go through all of this,” he said. “This goes clear back to the funeral, the turnout for that and to get a feeling of what the community thought of her — it means a lot.
“It’s just awesome.”
Caitlyn McKinley, who graduated in 2017, said it was more than dedicating a boat, but a dedication to someone for whom they cared and meant a lot to the team.
“She really drove the team to be great,” she said. “For me, personally, this brings back a lot or memories of what was her senior year and my junior year.
“We rowed in the varsity four along with Allie Kramer and Sarah Boone; those were some of my favorite memories being in that four. We definitely spent a lot of time together and got extremely close — it is something I will definitely miss.”
McKinley said have in four in Grimm’ memory was awesome.
McKinley said the boat has been used a couple of time before the dedication and she was one of the team members using the boat.
“At the Midwest I got to use it, so we used it a little this year,” she said. “Getting to be one of the first to row in it and knowing I would get to have my last race in a boat that was in memory of her. She really inspired me to be on the team and be a better rower.”
Bailes and VanAllen said the boat also has a dedication for Grimm with her initials on angel wings with oars arranged around them. Bailes said the logo, designed by Rylee Haught, would be used as the logo for the second regatta in Grimm’s honor scheduled for Oct. 14 at the boathouse off 19th Street.
Haught said the logo was the first she had been asked to do and a mixture of her ideas and those of her teammates.
“My teammates gave me some ideas for it,” she said. “They said it would be really cool if there was some kind of design and if the angel wings had oars.”