by Tom Utescher
It was ladies first on the race schedule last Sunday at the fifth and final installment of the 2014 Manny Flick/Horvat Regatta series, and a number of ladies from Mount St. Joseph and Springside Chestnut Hill Academy did indeed finish first in their respective categories. Penn Charter and Germantown Friends also produced some encouraging results in the final event of what serves as the “regular season” for high school rowers in the region.
There were the familiar side-by-side competitions for many boats, while in some of the more heavily populated categories, “head races” were held, with boats started one-by-one and then ranked solely on time. It was a warm day that actually called for use of sunscreen among the crowd lining the riverbank. A headwind kept times high in general, with rowers reporting some choppiness on the water on the upper reaches of the course, with a smoother surface farther down.
The SCH and Penn Charter girls turned in a one-two performance in the novice quad, decimating the rest of the eight-boat field in a head race. Even with some late changes in the line-up, the Blue Devils (stroke to bow: Gabby Sciarotta, Eliza Brody, Megan Karoly, Grace Tasman) won in seven minutes, 5.96 seconds. The PC Quakers (Kelsey White, Holly Webb, Madeline Whitehead, Sally Stanley) were not far off the pace in second at 7:09.09, while the third-place vessel was another 17 seconds back.
In head racing in the JV double, SCH tandems placed first and second out of 11 entries. Cara Stapleton and Melanie Bender won in 6:36.17, and Lisa Burckhardt and Karley Kochenour finished next in 6:41.14. In the same race, fifth place went to PC’s Rachel Gordon and Jean Gleason.
In the second of two regular side-by-side races in the varsity double class, the Blue Devils picked up another victory, this one coming courtesy of Elizabeth McClafferty and Mariel Soto Reyes in 6:51.59, a time which ranked second overall.
There were three local boats out of the 14 entries in the JV quad. One from Germantown Friends contained Sophie Bartholomew, Addie McKenzie, Jess Newberg, and Olenka Jain, who placed fifth in 6:21.64. SCH received a seventh-place showing from Henney Hambrose, Comora Love-Mitchell, Emily Zuckerman, and Courtney McElwee, and a ninth-place outcome from Alexa Schwartz, Maddi Bell, Aakanksha Sharma, and Carly Plotkin.
In the varsity single, SCH’s Maddy Canning was the runner-up in the second of two flights, with a time of 7:53.74. In the first flight, Chestnut Hiller Kate Horvat, a Germantown Academy senior, overcame her Episcopal Academy archrival, Natalie Stuart, winning 6:58.42 to 6:59.70.
Germantown Friends had freshman Laila Okeson race in the gig/novice single event, where she placed in the middle of a five-boat field.
The day before last Sunday’s fifth “Flick”, many of the Mount St. Joseph crews had been down in Delaware racing at one of the Noxontown regattas at St. Andrew’s School. There, the Magic lost the varsity eight race to Catholic Academies League rival Merion Mercy by seven-tenths of a second, and they were determined to do better on the Schuylkill the following day. They achieved that goal, despite trailing by nearly a boat-length early in Sunday’s V-8 contest.
Coming into the final 500 meters, the Mounties had built a modest lead in what was still a three-boat race for first, but then Merion dropped a bit behind the Magic and Holy Spirit. Spirit, closer to the riverbank, started to move on the Mount as they approached the lower end of Peter’s Island, but Mount St. Joe answered the challenge and won the flight by exactly three seconds, in 5:16.37. Merion was third in 5:22.38, still five seconds ahead of the best time from the other flight of the event.
“It was a nice win for them; they’d lost two straight races by less than a second, which is very frustrating,” related Mount varsity crews coach Mike McKenna. “There are three sophomores and two juniors in the boat, so they’re still gaining experience.”
For the JV eights, there were head races, and out of the 20 schools competing the first-place Magic were the fastest by five seconds, checking in at 5:35.33 to forestall North Jersey’s Montclair High School.
Montclair did not bring a true freshman eight to the event, but they did enter a novice eight which won easily. Still, Mount St. Joe was encouraged by a second-place finish (in 6:05.33) out of an overall field of 23. The Magic were also second in a single, six-boat flight of the second eight, with a time of 5:58.80 positioning them in between Radnor High School (5:52) and Merion Mercy (6:02).
Out of the quartet of MSJ fours that raced on Sunday, the best results were turned in by the JV boat and a lightweight four. The lightweight crew was the runner-up in the second of two flights, putting up the third-best time overall, at 6:36.73. The JV four was engaged in a 24-boat head race, and clocked in third overall in 6:24.29.
Mount St. Joseph won the first lightweight eight race of the Flick series this spring, but since then it’s been either Holy Spirit or Merion, with the Mount winding up second or third. Last Sunday Spirit looked masterful in a six-second win over runner-up Merion (5:26.11), while the Mount arrived third at the line (5:31.64).
The Magic’s freshman eight placed fourth out of a dozen head-racing ninth-grade crews, but at least their time of 6:20.10 put them first among the in-state entries, after Holy Spirit won and two other New Jersey schools took second and third.
Mount St. Joseph Boatings
JV Four: Jenny DiPietro (stroke), Shannon Hughes, Nina Lawlor, Alana Cianciulli, cox: Lauren Woodrow
Lightweight Four: Grace Little (stroke), Emma Tenzinger, Sophia Cocozza, Katelin Cordero, cox: Mimi O’Malley
Novice Eight: Francesca Diliberto (stroke), Meredith Mayes, Sam Altomare, Olivia Snakard, Julia Comerford, Celine Mina, Maddie Finnegan, Brooke Gimaro, cox: Adriana Formica
Freshman Eight: Allie Dipietro (stroke), Emma French, Paige Comtois, Alex Natale, Caroline Savage, Grace Comerford, Brayslin Gallagher, Molly Whalen, cox: Shannon LoStracco
JV Eight: Dana Mischler (stroke), Julianna Hunt, Demi Simms, Olivia Tice-Carroll, Mia Fitzpatrick, Cait Hagan, Brooke McMahon, Zoe Ramos, cox: Sabrina Ghantous
Lightweight Eight: Michela Karrash (stroke), Rachel Sandquist, Erin McGreevey, Alex Uzzo, Vicki Matsinger, Bridget Fitzpatrick, Abby Shreero, Liz McKernan, cox: Madi Kist
Second Eight: Emily McHugh (stroke), Natalie Simms, Jocelyn Ziemniak, Christina Vosbikian, Quinn DeVore, Danielle Kosman, Caroline Carbone, Lauren Woodrow, cox: Beth Weinrich
Varsity Eight: Steph Eble (stroke), Christina Knox, Maddie Lawn, Maddie Lauinger, Alaina Hunt, Maddie Carlton, Lauren Matchett, Leah Ramos, cox: Megan Mirabella