by Tom Utescher
Each year the initial installment of the annual Manny Flick scholastic rowing series is relatively lightly attended, and that was the case at the Kelly Drive course last Sunday. Penn Charter actually had 18 oarsmen and women out on the Schuylkill, while Springside Chestnut Hill and Germantown Friends each turned out three boys for the season opener.
Fortunately, all three schools operate out of Boathouse Row, and will be able to avoid what promises to be chronic chaos upriver at the old Canoe Club, where crews who trailer their boats to the races park, unload, and launch. Part of the river embankment wall right at the concrete ramp to the main dock has crumbled into the river, and last week the relatively low number of trailer teams launched from the St. Joseph’s boathouse dock at the far end of the parking lot. As the race entries swell over the next few weeks, administrators plan to jury-rig launching docks below the St. Joe’s enclosure, where there is no permanent ramp down from the bank.
Mount St. Joseph Academy, which routinely trailers its shells down from its Conshohocken boathouse, was absent entirely last Sunday. Roughly five-dozen Mounties had flown out to San Francisco on Thursday to take on some elite West Coast club crews at the Shamrock Invitational Regatta on March 17 and 18.
On the Schuylkill last weekend, several of the local boys’ boats went head-to-head. In the JV double category, Penn Charter juniors Spencer Grant and Kevin Kelly placed second in their flight with a time of five minutes, 37.09 seconds, while in an adjacent lane GFS sophomores Greg Goldstein and Ethan Genyk finished fourth in 5:59.83. Their race was won by a duo from Conestoga High School (5:33.48), while in the other flight of the junior double event victorious Malvern Prep (5:32.13) was slightly faster.
Later in the day, a different tandem from the PC Quakers was in the same flight of the varsity double as SCH. Both duos found the competition daunting, as Blue Devil seniors Drew Adubato and John Olson came in fourth in 5:47.20, and Charter 12th-graders Clay Bryan and Jake Smith were sixth in 6:10.18. Up front, the winner was Roman Catholic High School (5:26.61) and the runner-up was Malvern (5:31.60).
Germantown Friends junior Andrew Bair, who was the only Tiger on the water in 2010 before Genyk and Goldstein joined in last spring, won the JV single early in the day. His time of 6:10.92 was not only best in his flight, but more than six seconds faster than the figures from his closest competitors in either of the two sections.
Carl Delacato, an SCH senior, took first place in his flight of the varsity single, winning a sprint over a rival from Riverhead High in Long Island, 6:03.97 to 6:04.46. The other race in this category was faster, though, and it was won by Germantown Academy’s only entry last Sunday, junior Eric Blood (5:46.01).
PC juniors Heidi Zisselman and Maria Georgiou, who have been working a double together for some time, won the girls JV race easily, crossing the wire in 6:22.80 while runner-up Conestoga was a dozen seconds back.
The Quakers were also represented in both flights of the girls JV quad. In the faster race (won by Conestoga in 5:55.67), one PC boat came in fourth in 6:47.18 with a crew consisting of (stroke to bow) sophomores Ida Djerassi and Hannah Kramer, junior Julia Mammone, and sophomore Liza Gendler. In the other flight, junior Tara Malone, sophomore Celina McCall, and juniors Maddie Perlmutter and Katie O’Malley came in second (in 6:23.25) behind Shipley (6:19.76).
Penn Charter also put out a boys’ quad in the JV category, with junior Stanton Young stroking for sophomore Erich Riedlmeier and juniors Sam Jolinger and Jack Delaney. They placed third in 5:45.99, behind Conestoga (the winner in 5:16.85) and Inter-Ac League rival Haverford School.