by Tom Utescher
In the third Manny Flick regatta last Sunday on the Schuylkill, Penn Charter and Springside Chestnut Hill Academy each collected victories in both boys’ and girls’ competition.
SCH senior Jen Sager won for the second straight week in her varsity single, clocking in at six minutes, 34.40 seconds. With a slower time than the previous week she did not enjoy the same huge margin of victory as in the second “Flick,” but she still had a 12-second cushion at the finish. She was pushed a bit by a home-schooled independent rower from northern New Jersey (the runner-up), while the closest area competitor was a Conestoga sculler who was timed in 7:12.14.
Racing lane one closest to the riverbank (not the smoothest water on the course), the SCH boys in the JV quad “A” boat won their flight in 5:33.75, a dozen seconds ahead of the second-place crew from New Jersey’s Montclair High. The winners were (stroke to bow) Peter Anthony, James Meadows, Graham Ervin, and Jordan Wang, while in the same race the SCH “B” craft containing Jaime MacEachern, Dylan Brush, Larry Wargo, and Will Elliott placed third in 5:52.35.
Just behind SCH’s “B” boat was fourth-place Penn Charter, which had Erich Riedlmeier, Frank Doyle, Jack Delaney, and Jim Paolini cross the line in 6:04.56. The other flight in this category moved at a faster pace, and featured SCH and PC’s Inter-Ac League rivals, Malvern and Haverford.
At the start of the boys’ racing, SCH had three first-year rowers racing in the second flight of the novice single. Sophomore Andrea Dragani won in 7:29.10 and freshman Jimmy Klauder was second in 7:36.13. Another Blue Devils freshman turned the event into a sort of biathlon, starting out rowing and then switching to swimming once his boat flipped. He was quickly fished out of the drink by race referees.
Other first-time rowers for the Devils were the members of a novice quad; James Schweitzer, Tommy Sivick, Joe Torsella, and Matt Miller. They finished third in their flight in 6:49.52.
SCH sent out a pair of girls’ novice quads, which finished second and third behind Conestoga High. The Lions “A” boat (Henney Hambrose, Emily Zuckerman, Breon West, Elizabeth McClafferty) finished in 6:27.29 and SCH “B” (Camora Love-Mitchell, Courtney McElwee, Lauren Stokes, Devon McAllister) was not far behind in 6:30.67.
The Lions received second-place showings from both their JV quad (Anna Rose Bedrosian, Maddie Canning, Chelsea Richardson, Mia Gold), which came down in 6:14.44, and the varsity quad (Katie Blake, Alana Noble, Sanna Johnson, Anna Valciukas), which was timed in 5:57.01.
Penn Charter celebrated winning performances from both its boys’ and girls’ JV doubles, each staffed by juniors. Hill resident Maria Georgiou and longtime crew companion Heidi Zisselman won their flight in 6:24.40, which turned out to be the third best time overall in a field of 16. First in their flight of the boys’ event and fourth in overall time were the Quakers’ Spencer Grant and Kevin Kelly, who clocked in at 5:48.97. The PC duo won by 11 seconds and the best overall time in their class was only four seconds faster.
A second girls’ JV double for Penn Charter (with Tara Malone and Norwood Fontbonne grad Katie O’Malley) was in a slower flight and finished second in 6:34.93.
First-year rowers for Penn Charter appeared in a girls’ novice double (Sabrina Pogrebivsky and Rachel Gordon) and a boys’ novice quad (Chad Coursen, Ethan Ashley, Ethan Grugan, Aidan Porges). The female duo finished third, and the boys’ quad came in second in its flight, just ahead of Springside Chestnut Hill.
For SCH’s successful Sager, rowing in a single has taken some adjustments. The Lions’ senior, who will attend Trinity College, was a 2011 Stotesbury Cup gold medalist in the senior quad.
“It’s been a totally different experience; training in the single has been really weird,” she said. “It takes a lot of self-motivation. In the quad, you were in it with a group of girls and you didn’t want to let your teammates down.
“When I was in the quad,” she continued, “I had a higher [stroke] rating, and now I’ve slowed down a bit in terms of slide control – I use the power in my legs more. I’ve always been a rower who has pushed myself pretty hard, and I’ve been rowing pieces with our other [larger] boats in practice. I’m a little fatigued right now, so the week off [this Sunday being Easter] is coming at the right time.”
She knows the races will grow harder as more out-of-town entrants turn up later in the season.
“That’s why in these early races I didn’t just want to win it, I wanted to kill it,” she said. “When you get to Stotesbury you’ll see those really good Canadian singles come down. It’ll be scary, but I want to take on the top competition.”