Head of the Hooch: Rower competes in father's honor - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Head of the Hooch: Rower competes in father's honor

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CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) --  For some rowers Head of the Hooch is all about competition, but for one young man it's a way of honoring his father who is fighting in Afghanistan.

Lance Randles rows for UNC Chapel Hill, but calls the Tennessee Valley home.  This is his first year rowing.  Although he wishes his dad could have been here for the event, Randles says he can't wait to call him with all the details.

"I remember when our coach told us our next race was going to be in Tennessee," Randles says.  "I got really excited." 

For Bradley County native, Lance Randles, the 7th annual Head of the Hooch is special for a few reasons.

"It's great coming home," he says. "A bunch of family friends came out, it's great to come home and see everyone." 

Your first major regatta is one to remember for any rower.  Randles' mom, Monica, and sister are taking plenty of pictures.

"He decided he wanted to do something different," says, Monica Randles.  "He tried out for the team and found out it's something he really likes."   

That's not the only reason Monica Randles' is capturing every second of the day on camera.  It's also because a very important member of the family is missing.

"I've been able to contact him a couple of times since he's been over there," says Lance. 

The students new found love of rowing hadn't even began when his father, Army Lieutenant Colonel Taz Randles, deployed to Afghanistan.

"Of course we wish he was here," says Monica.  "I know he's wishing he was here, but we appreciate the sacrifice he's making."   

Lance tried out for the row team after transferring to UNC this fall.  Head of the Hooch is only his second competition.  "Everyone seems very competitive," he says.  "The amount of boats and traffic." 

The college kid says he already loves rowing and everything about it.  The family plans to send dad the video in a care package soon.  Lance Randles says next year will be even better, because his dad will be home.  

"He'll definitely be able to make it back for next season," he says.  "I know it'll be special." 

Lieutenant Colonel, Taz Randles, is serving as a chaplain with the 257th Transportation Company.  He is expected home next summer.

Lance Randles is a graduate of Walker Valley High School.  He's competing in one of eight teams from UNC Chapel Hill.  His team placed third in their category Saturday.


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