Stafford, partner still alive at Olympics

By KEVIN MCCALLUM
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

Former Santa Rosa High School track star Silas Stafford advanced to the Summer Games rowing semifinals Monday morning at Eton Dorney, about 25 miles west of London, keeping his Olympic dream alive for at least two more days.

Stafford and teammate Thomas Peszek narrowly avoided elimination when they finished third in their 2,000-meter heat, edging the Hungarian team by half of a second.

Germany was first(6:22.76), and Serbia second (6:26.61).

The third-place finish in the repechage heat sends Stafford and Peszek to the semifinal on Wednesday. The finals are Friday.

“We’re still alive,” Peszek told USA Today. “It’s not the way we wanted to do it, but we made it.”

The Americans surged to an early lead, holding it through the 500-meter mark before the Germans, the eventual winners, pulled ahead.

Stafford and Peszek, a native of Farmington Hills, Mich., led at the halfway point, then faded in the final 500 meters but were able to hold on and send the Hungarians home.

The Americans’ time was 6:27.88 was slightly off their Saturday time of 6:26.59. Stafford, 26, was a track star at Santa Rosa High who switched sports in college. He graduated from Stanford in 2008 and went on to get his masters degree in geology from Cambridge in 2011.