by Tom Utescher
Last Sunday, the fifth and final installment of the 2015 Manny Flick regatta series marked the end of rowing’s “regular season” for crews from Germantown Academy, Germantown Friends, Mount St. Joseph, Penn Charter and Springside Chestnut Hill Academy. The next time they dip an oar into the Schuylkill for a race on the Kelly Drive course, an awards dock and shiny medals will be awaiting the top performers at the finish line.
So how are they looking as they get ready to perform in the center ring?
With the boys’ races preceding those for the female Flickers last weekend, the day began with a first-place finish for one of the local franchises. This was down to Luke Cartrite of GFS, who easily won the gig/novice single race over rivals from Roman Catholic High School and New Jersey power Holy Spirit.
His schoolmates quickly followed up with a victory in the freshman/novice double. Here, it was James Wright and Gabe Buyske-Friedberg besting several Jersey crews and Friends League rival Shipley. In the first flight of the novice quad, the Tiger quartet of Graham Arms, Preston Choe, Gabe Sher, and Eric Shen finished fifth, but their time was slightly faster than any produced in the second flight, where Penn Charter (Gordon Robertson, Matt Kestenbaum, David Groshens, Mitch Sibson) won and Springside Chestnut Hill (Mark Greenstreet-Akman, Thomas Liechner, Sean Edling, Chris Markos) placed second.
In the boys’ junior varsity events two sculls each managed a third-place finish. First it was GA’s John Taggart and Fred McElwee in the double, followed by Penn Charter (Stephen Flemming, Cesar Centeno, Tristan Laurencio, Joey Centeno) in the first flight of the quad. Third place went to GA in the lightweight double, where Decker Wentz teamed up with Carter Seggev.
In the varsity single, the Patriots’ Zach Burkhart remained on a roll, winning the fastest of three flights as he posted the best overall time by nine seconds. In the next fastest group, Andrew Berghella of GFS was the runner-up, while the other flight was won by PC’s Ethan Grugan.
In the second (and second-fastest) flight of the varsity double, the winner was Penn Charter (Jeremy McDavid, Ethan Ashley) and third place went to SCH (Matt Miller, Callum Brazier) In the third flight in this category, the runner-up was Germantown Academy (Nick Moeller, Alex Straus).
Due to the large number of entries in certain categories, head races were held instead of regular side-by-side competition. Here, boats are started one-by-one at set intervals, and then ranked according to their times.
That’s how Sunday’s action commenced for area girls’ crews, with five Mount St. Joseph boats rowing well in the head racing.
The novice eight (Maddie Walsh – cox, Mia DiGregorio – stroke, Jen DeGroat, Kaitlin Eney, Erica Arnold, Julie Flynn, Rebecca Patti, Lily Tubman, Claudia Langella) was second out of 23 entries, two-and-a-half seconds behind Episcopal Academy and eight ahead of third-place Montclair (N.J.).
The Magic were also runners-up in the 16-boat freshman eight event. The Mounties (Nina Taglianetti – cox, Cathryn Antonacio – stroke, Maddie Sandquist, Maddie Curran, Faith Hughes, Gabi Natale, Sam Cordero, Kerry Faust, Grace Sowa) were six seconds behind victorious Merion Mercy, but they proved faster than traditional powers Montclair and Holy Spirit.
The Mount had two entries in the JV four head race, an “A” boat (Shannon LoStracco – cox, Allie DiPietro – stroke, Celine Mina, Paige Comtois, Brianna McBride), and a “B” (Kathleen Brooks – cox, Brayslin Gallagher – stroke, Anna Gallagher, Maddy Mulligan, Emma Veon). Harriton High was the fastest of the 22 contestants, while Mount “A” was leas than four seconds back in fourth place, and MSJ “B” placed fifth two ticks after that.
In the last of the head races, the Magic’s JV eight (Emily Woodrow – cox, Brooke McMahon – stroke, Demi Simms, Cait Hagan, Alex Natale, Julianna Hunt, Mia Fitzpatrick, Michelle Lipovsky, Grace Comerford) won by 1.25 seconds over Ocean City (N.J.) High School. After O.C., the next finishers all came from New Jersey, as well, until Merion Mercy arrived eighth out of the overall field of 17.
In regular six-lane racing, the Mount’s freshman four was third in its flight thanks to cox Abby Schwenger and her paddlers, Aileen Mansfield (stroke), Karsen Healy, Emily Little, and Christie Faust. Both Schwenger and Mansfield are Norwood Fontbonne Academy grads.
In the freshman quad, the runner-up boat in the second flight contained Springside Chestnut Hill’s Mia Humphreys, Hope Lee, Paige Aloise, and Olivia Clark. Right after that the JV races got going with the singles, where Addie McKenzie of GFS was the runner-up and PC’s Jean Gleason was fourth.
In the second heat of the JV double, Charter’s Kelsey White and Sally Stanley won by 16 seconds, while in the first flight, third place was nabbed by Germantown Friends’ Jess Newberg. In the JV quad event that followed, GA (Emma Rapp – stroke, Katie Aemisehher, Genna Fierson, Nina Tang) won the faster second section, and in the first flight third place went to SCH (Jessica Penn – stroke, Eliza Brody, Gabby Sciarrotta, Karly Kochenour).
It was on to the lightweight races, where in the four, Mount St. Joseph (Olivia Kylander – cox, Liz DeGroat – stroke, Julia Comerford, Brooke Gimaro, Emma French) were second in their flight with the third-best time overall. Comerford and her sister Grace are both Norwood grads.
In the lone flight of the lightweight quad, a runner-up result was claimed by GFS, with the Tigers’ line-up featuring Olenka Jain (stroke), Sam Pancoe, Tessa Curry, and Becca Genyk.
In the lightweight eight, Mount St. Joe (Lindsey Maiale – cox, Erin McGreevey – stroke, Vicki Matsinger, Shannon Hughes, Zoe Ramos, Molly Whalen, Grace Little, Rachel Sandquist, Katelin Cordero), fought off a late sprint by Merion to win by a second-and-a-half in the faster of the two flights.
There was just one race in the second eight class, and here the Mount (Annarose Clark – cox, Sam Altomare – stroke, Alana Cianciulli, Brynn McGillin, Jenny DiPietro, Danielle Kosman, Nina Lawlor, Emma Tenzinger, Maddie Finnegan) won by a smidgeon over Holy Spirit (5:10.30 to 5:10.87).
Like her GA male counterpart in the varsity single, the Patriots’ Jess Zettlemoyer steamed to an easy victory (and top overall time) as the girls varsity races got underway.
Her teammates, Ingrid Lillis and Kathryn Nunes, won the second flight of the varsity double. This group, which included third-place Penn Charter (Rachel Gordon, Sabrina Pogrebivsky), was somewhat slower than the first flight of the event, where another PC duo (Madeline Whitehead, Holly Webb) finished sixth but had a faster time than their Quaker comrades.
As the end of the day’s racing approached, Springside Chestnut Hill finished up with a second-place showing in the varsity quad. Amanda Miller (stroke), Emma Lutz, Grace Youngren, and Lisa Burckhardt were four seconds behind victorious Haddon Township (N.J.), and a full 20 seconds ahead of number three Notre Dame.
The last area ensemble on the river was Mount St. Joseph’s varsity eight, which had won most of its races this spring, but had finished second to Merion Mercy in the fourth Flick. The Magic (Sabrina Ghantous – cox, Steph Eble (stroke), Christina Knox, Olivia Tice-Carroll, Maddie Lauinger, Alaina Hunt, Maddie Carlton, Dana Mischler, Alex Uzzo) led coming up alongside Peter’s Island, but Merion began to sprint and pick up seats.
Ghantous noted the challenge and was able to shift her “Breen Machine” into a higher gear. The Magic prevailed, 4:54.41 to 4:56.10, with Spirit third in 4:57.58. This was the first, and by far the fastest, of the three V-8 flights.