by Tom Utescher
Last week’s flooding caused the postponement of one of the largest rowing events of the season, the Philadelphia Scholastic Rowing Association City Championships. The waters in Schuylkill had returned to a relatively benign level, but immense deposits of mud along Kelly Drive, and in the parking and spectator areas caused the City Parks Commission to put the kibosh on the races that had been scheduled for Sunday, May 4.
That didn’t mean that area crews have been entirely idle since the end of the Manny Flick series the Sunday before Easter. Mount St. Joseph and Springside Chestnut Hill Academy both ventured out-of-state to race on the last weekend of April.
For SCH, there was just a short hop across the Delaware to compete in the Cooper Cup in Camden, N.J. The Blue Devils came away with a gold medal thanks to sophomores Lisa Burckhardt and Karley Kochenour, who won the JV double event with a time of eight minutes, 59.52 seconds on the 2000-meter course.
Four other Blue Devils snagged second place in the novice quad; freshmen Eliza Brody, Rekha Dhillon-Richardson, Sofia Djerassi and sophomore Jill Silverman turned in a time of 8:50.38 for their runner-up result. An older quartet took fourth place in the JV quad, where juniors Henney Hambrose, Comora Love-Mitchell, Courtney McElwee and Emily Zuckerman came to the line in 8:35.58.
There were fifth-place finishes for both the varsity double (8:55.35) and a second SCH novice quad (9:14.87). The smaller boat was staffed by seniors Liz McClafferty and Mariel Soto-Reyes, while the quad contained sophomore Megan Karoly and freshmen Jessica Penn, Grace Torsella, and Grace Tasman. The Devils also entered a second JV quad, and in a race shortened to 1500 meters, sophomores Alexa Schwartz, Maddi Bell, Aakanksha Sharma, and Carly Plotkin came in sixth in 5:54.97.
Meanwhile, Mount St. Joe ventured farther afield to attend the 2014 Saratoga Invitational in upstate New York on April 25-27, an event which draws strong high school and club crews from the Empire State and New England. It’s a road trip the Magic have been making regularly in recent years.
After qualifying for the fastest of the final flights in the varsity eight, the Mount finished seventh in a 10-boat field, coming in behind a number of club crews that draw athletes from more than one school. The winner in the 1500-meter affair was Boston’s Community Rowing, Inc. with a time of 5:00.008, while the Magic clocked in at 5:07.801 with a line-up consisting of coxswain Megan Mirabella and rowers (stroke to bow) Steph Eble, Christina Knox, Maddie Lawn, Maddie Lauinger, Alaina Hunt, Maddie Carlton, Lauren Matchett, and Leah Ramos.
Eble and Hunt are juniors, and Carlton, Knox and Lauinger are sophomores.
The four seniors all made their college choices some time ago. Kist will cox for Stanford, Lawn is headed to Columbia, Mirabella has picked Princeton, and Ramos is going to George Washington.
In the final race in the lightweight eight class Mount St. Joe came in third, finishing in 5:12.070 with Michela Karrash, Rachel Sandquist, Erin McGreevey, Alex Uzzo, Kate Cordero, Bridget Fitzpatrick, Vicki Matsinger, and Liz McKernan.
Their coxswain was Stanford-bound senior Madi Kist. Karrash and McKernan have both signed on with Boston College, and the fourth senior in the boat, Fitzpatrick, is migrating south to the University of Miami. The other five members of the crew are all still sophomores.
The freshman eight for the Magic finished as runner-up in its category (to host Saratoga), completing the course in 5:51.279. In this vessel, Shannon-Nicole LoStracco coxed for Allie DiPietro, Emma French, Paige Comtois, Alex Natale, Samantha Altomare, Grace Comerford, Meredith Mayes, and Molly Whalen.