by Tom Utescher

It was rookie day on the river last Sunday, as ninth-graders and older first-year rowers raced in the annual event formally known as the Dr. Robert White Regatta for Freshmen and Novices.

The only two categories not just for newbies involved Girls Inter-Ac League crews, who joust annually in eights and quads. These Inter-Ac competitions bookended the race schedule.

Not surprisingly, the schools that regularly race eights, Episcopal and Agnes Irwin, finished first and second, with Baldwin third. Germantown Academy had signed on initially but then dropped out before the race, and in the battle for fourth place Penn Charter (stroke to bow: Alix Azizi, Maria Georgiou, Heidi Zisselman, Dylan Smith, Katie O’Malley, Sami Kapnek, Tara Malone, Tess Reinhold. Coxswain: Jonah Krall) won out over Springside (Becca Chasar, Emily Eisler, Mozelle Rosenthal, Chelsea Richardson, Victoria Iannarone, Katie Blake, Rose Donahue, Allie Schreffler. Coxswain: Sofia Soto Reyes) by nearly five seconds.

In the last race of the day Springside’s varsity quad (Verity Walsh, Taylor Apostolico Jen Sager, Anna Valciukas), in an outside lane, was very close behind Episcopal at the tip of Peter’s Island and appeared to be gaining. The Lions quartet caught a crab at that point, and even though it wasn’t a major disturbance, it put an end to their overtaking maneuver and they finished second in five minutes, 17.32 seconds, about four seconds behind the Churchwomen.

Penn Charter (Azizi, Georgiou, Zisselman, Jenna Maurer) placed fifth in the race, ahead of Agnes Irwin.

Another, more serious crab, had occurred in Springside’s Friday practice and had opened up a vacancy in the novice quad. The Lions withdrew from the freshman double event and moved Maddie Canning into the bow seat in the quad, where she joined Amanda Price, Sanna Johnson, and Mariel Soto- Reyes. They finished second to Conestoga High School in both their heat race and in the finals later in the day.

Third in the same heat and fifth in the final race was a Penn Charter novice quad containing Hannah Kramer, Liza Gendler, Julia Mammone, and Isa Djerassi. In the only boys’ event entered by the Quakers, Erich Riedlmeier and Stanton Young came in fourth in the novice double.

CHA’s freshman double has been successful all season long, and the duo of Peter Anthony (stroke) and James Meadows remained on a roll last weekend. Unchallenged winners in their event, their time of 5:34.95 put them almost 14 seconds ahead of the runner-up tandem from Roman Catholic.

The Blue Devils split up their other novices (three freshmen and sophomore Dylan Brush) and made four entries in the novice gig/single category. Will Elliott raced against strangers in the first heat of the event, finishing fourth, while the other three Devils made up the entire field in a second heat. In the finals, Roman Catholic won in 6:28.19 and CHA’s Jaime MacEachern was second in 6:30.62, while Brush placed fifth.

Mount St. Joseph entered a freshman eight and had two other boats in the novice eight event. The freshmen (Michela Karrash, Jocelyn Ziemniak, Maddie Lawn, Lauren Matchett, Natalie Simms, Elizabeth McKernan, Sarah Curcio, Leah Ramos. Coxswain: Madi Kist) advanced by winning one of the two heats. There were three heats for the novices and only the top two boats made it to the finals. The Magic’s novice “A” boat came in third in a fast heat, while the “B” boat survived as the runner up in another section.

With its relatively slow time in the heats consigning it to the slow-moving lane six in the final, Mount “B” (Caroline Carbone, Nadine Ghantous, Jennifer Lawlor, Marissa Mulligan, Katie Gresko, Christina Vosbikian, Lauren Woodrow, Ellie McGlynn. Coxswain: Megan Mirabella) brought up the rear in the novices’ final.

In the freshman eight final, Holy Spirit won convincingly in 5:15.05, while Mount St. Joe challenged for third for a time and ended up fourth, with a time of 5:35.91.

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