by Tom Utescher
For area crews, last Sunday’s Philadelphia City Championships was the first of the season’s major medal races, and medals there were, for rowers from Springside Chestnut Hill Academy, Penn Charter, and Germantown Friends School.
Two quads won gold medals in the novice category, the boys of SCH and the girls of Germantown Friends. Silver medals went to the SCH boys’ JV double and to a pair of Penn Charter boys’ boats, the varsity double and the novice gig/single.
Taking home bronze medallions were Charter’s girls’ varsity double, a girls’ lightweight double and novice quad from Springside Chestnut Hill, and the boys’ varsity single for GFS. In addition, four other boats from SCH and one from PC raced in the finals.
Many of the local boats entered had to race in qualifying head races during the morning, needing to finish among the top six – purely on time – in order to advance to the finals in the afternoon. However, a number of vessels from area schools found themselves in categories with relatively few entries, they went straight into the final round without a morning workout.
The first girls quad ever to compete for Germantown Friends wrote a happy ending to its Cinderella story. There was no preliminary round for these novice scullers; they went straight to the finals and straight to the finish line ten seconds ahead of their closest rivals. Checking in at six minutes, 6.61 seconds, they arrived ahead of Sacred Heart (6:16.36) and the bronze medalists from Springside Chestnut Hill (6:21.64).
The SCH boys novice quad did have to race in the morning, coming in second out of eight entries about three-and-a-half seconds behind the fastest qualifier, Roman Catholic. The Blue Devils would battle this same boat side-by-side in the finals, and this time they won, hitting the line in 5:08.59 while Roman was runner-up in 5:09.12. There was a healthy gap between these two and bronze medalist Haverford School (5:24.30).
The JV double for SCH, a success all season long, was second in the qualifying in a large field of 19 entries. Here, they were seven seconds off the pace of St. Joseph’s Prep, and in the finals the Devils closed the gap a bit, with Prep winning in 5:12.60 and the Devils digging up silver in 5:17.72, with the third finisher another five seconds back.
In the qualifying for this event, PC’s JV double missed the cut for the finals by two-tenths of a second, and one spot (and fourth-tenths) behind in eighth place was a twosome from Germantown Friends.
The occupants of last season’s excellent boys’ JV double for Penn Charter are now racing in the varsity class this spring. At Cities, they were second to New Jersey’s Ridgewood High School in both the qualifying and the finals. Ridgewood won in 5:00.38, the Quakers claimed the silver medal in 5:04.81, and four seconds behind them was another Jersey boat, from Don Bosco Prep.
PC’s girls varsity double (also descended from a championship JV double in 2012) improved its standing from fifth of 15 entries in the qualifying to bronze medalists in the finals. Gold went to Germantown Academy’s Kate Horvat and Alex Takei in 5:40.66, while Ridgewood again interfered with PC’s plans, coming in second (5:41.67) while the Quakers captured the last medal in 5:50.85.
That was a battle in itself, as the Charter duo fought down to the wire to beat out fourth-place Conestoga High School, which was timed just one-tenth of a second slower.
Ridgewood also proved a spoiler in the boys varsity single, winning the gold medal in 5:25.38, while Germantown Academy’s Eric Blood (5:28.45) struck sliver and Germantown Friends’ Andrew Bair got the bronze (5:40.84), nine seconds ahead of the fourth finisher. Both Blood and Bair are seniors, and Bair was the only GFS rower on the river when he started out in 2010.
In another singles event, Penn Charter sophomore Jeremy McDavid qualified second of 11 entries in the novice class, then followed through with a silver medal performance (6:28.79) behind the champion from Upper Dublin High School. In the final, McDavid fought off a Wissahickon High rival who was a close third in 6:29.04.
Going straight to the final race in the girls lightweight double without a qualifier, Springside Chestnut Hill encountered a familiar nemesis for local boats, Ridgewood. The Garden State girls won in 5:45.43, Haddon Township was second in 5:57.12, while the Blue Devils still took home some hardware, winning bronze in 6:00.67. In an exciting finish, the SCH girls didn’t actually thrust themselves ahead of number four Conestoga (6:01.41) until there were only about 25 meters to go. Behind ‘Stoga were Sacred Heart and an entry from Penn Charter, which came in sixth.
Another straight-to-finals category was the girls novice four, and SCH went along on this trip. The Blue Devils placed fourth, posting a time of 6:16.83 to top rivals from Shipley School and GA. Bonner/Prendergast won convincingly in 6:00.41.
SCH boats which had to qualify in the morning, and did, included the girls’ varsity quad (fourth of eight), the girls’ freshman quad (third of 10), and the girls’ freshman/novice double.
In the varsity quad, gold and silver went to Conestoga (5:17.48) and Sacred Heart, while SCH placed fourth (5:44.48) between two fellow Inter-Ac League schools, Episcopal and Notre Dame. The Blue Devils were also fourth in the double, netting a time of 6:13.89 while Inter-Ac member Baldwin School snapped up the gold medal in 6:01.30.
Conestoga won the freshman quad final in 5:40.93, and Springside Chestnut Hill was fifth in 6:08.32.
The boys’ JV single fell short of qualifying by one place and seven seconds, and other Blue Devil boats that missed the cut-off were the boys’ JV quad and JV four, and the girls’ varsity double. The same held true for five entries from Penn Charter, the boys’ JV and varsity quads, and the girls’ varsity four and girls’ JV and freshman quads.
Girls Novice Quad – Tessa Curry, Sophie Bartholomew, Addie McKenzie, Becca Genyk
Boys Ltwt. Double – Ethan Genyk, Greg Goldstein
Boys Varsity Single – Andrew Bair
SCH Boys (stroke to bow)
Novice Quad – Riley Bakes, Zach Cohen, Ryan Torie, Callum Brazier
JV Single – Thomas Andrews
JV Double – Matt Miller, James Meadows
JV Four – Andrea Dragani, Will Elliott, Joseph Mulhern, Larry Wargo, Mark Mulhern (cox)
JV Quad – Oh Cheung, John Funchion, Kit Cheung, Mark Huffman
Ltwt. Quad – Jimmy Klauder, Rayan Bousso, Will Tasman, Jordan Wang
Varsity Quad – Jaime MacEachern, Graham Ervin, Alec Horter, Seth Bakes
SCH Girls (stroke to bow)
Freshman/Novice Double – Lisa Burckhardt, Karley Kochenour
Novice Four – Lauren McCormack, Lexi Smilow, Allison Day, Ellery Crandall, Jill Silverman (cox)
Novice Quad – Alexa Schwartz, Jenna Yorko, Samira Baird, Melanie Bender
Freshman Quad – Aakanksha Sharma, Maddi Bell, Carly Plotkin, Cara Stapleton
Ltwt. Double – Maddie Canning, Alana Noble
Varsity Double – Devon McAllister, Marguerite Zabriskie
Varsity Quad – Anna Rose Bedrosian, Liz McClafferty, Chelsea Richardson, Mia Gold
Penn Charter Boys (stroke to bow)
Gig/Novice 1 – Jeremy McDavid
JV Double – Peter Ciaocchi, Chad Coursen
JV Quad – Ethan Ashley, Ethan Grugan, Jimmy Paolini, Conor Foley
Varsity Double – Kevin Kelly, Spencer Grant
Varsity Quad – Sam Jolinger, Ed Point, Erich Riedlmeier, Stanton Young
Penn Charter Girls (stroke to bow)
Freshman Quad – Gina Kim, Jay Dunmore, Rachel Gordon, Jean Gleason
JV Quad – Celina McCall, Hannah Kramer, Rachel Gordon, Isa Djerassi
Ltwt. Double – Liza Gendler, Sabrina Pogrebivsky
Varsity Double – Heidi Zisselman, Maria Georgiou
Varsity Four – Katie O’Malley, Maddie Perlmutter, Claudia Stedman, Tara Malone, Jack Delaney (cox)