by Tom Utescher

En route to another victory in the Mount St. Joseph varsity eight are (lower left to upper right) coxswain Erin McElroy, Dana Lerro, Julie McGlynn, Katie O’Connell, Darian DiCianno, Dana Zielinski, Emily Carbone, Rose Ehrlich, and Kiera McCloy. (Photo by Tom Utescher)

Area crew teams each enjoyed success last Sunday as the Manny Flick regatta series resumed following the Easter hiatus. The weather was sunny and uncharacteristically warm, and much of the day there were headwinds that kept the times high in many race categories.

Mount St. Joseph Academy’s varsity eight remained on a roll, and the Magic won several fours races, as well. The Springside Chestnut Hill Academy boys sent out an unusually large number of singles, while on the girls’ side Jen Sager continued to excel in the varsity singles class. There was also continued success for Penn Charter rowers of both genders in the JV double, and for Germantown Friends’ Andrew Bair in the JV single.

The boys’ events were all held in the morning and midday hours, and right from the jump SCH received second-place finishes from freshmen Rayan Bousso (timed in seven minutes, 10.38 seconds) and Jimmy Klauder (6:55.33) in two different flights of the novice single.

Penn Charter won the novice quad in 6:18.49 with the ninth-grade line-up of (stroke to bow) Ethan Ashley, Chad Coursen, Conor Foley, and James Paolini, while SCH was the runner-up in the second flight of the freshman quad. Here, Joey Torsella, James Schweitzer, Matt Miller, and Will Tasman finished in 6:33.94.

Germantown Friends’ Bair, a junior, continued his winning streak in the JV single, with his time of 6:23.68 putting him a dozen seconds ahead of the second-place boat. GFS sophomores Greg Goldstein and Ethan Genyk, who had not raced in the Flicks since the first installment on March 18, were back at it last weekend, coming in third in the third flight of the JV double (6:10.39).

Penn Charter had already set the time standard in that category, though, as juniors Kevin Kelly and Spencer Grant won the first JV double race in 5:47.35, topping Inter-Ac League rival Malvern (5:50.03) while recording the fastest time out of all three flights.

The SCH Blue Devils entered each of the three sections of the varsity single. Carl Delacato won his race in 6:17.61, while fellow junior Drew Adubato was second in a different flight (6:21.45) and senior John Olson was runner-up in the third race (6:39.04). Germantown Academy’s Eric Blood remained at the top of this class with a time of 6:06.56.

The area girls crews got off to a strong start with victories by Penn Charter in the novice double and by Mount St. Joe in the novice eight.

Quakers freshmen Rachel Gordon and Sophie Eldridge won by 23 seconds with a time of 7:26.19. Like almost all of the Mount crews, the novices had raced down at St. Andrew’s School the day before. For Sunday’s race, Mimi O’Malley rotated into the coxswain’s seat, guiding her rowers (Bernadette McGirr, Kelly Dougherty, Madi Ehmann, Danielle Kosman, Sara Healy, Sophia Cocozza, Meg Kelly, and Maria Zonies) to victory in the first flight with a time of 6:25.75.

The SCH Lions racing in the novice quad category (Breon West, Devon McAllister, Lauren Stokes, Liz McClafferty) came in second with a time of 6:35.27. West and Stokes are freshmen, and McAllister and McClaefferty are sophomores who are rookie rowers.

Charter kept cooking along in the girls’ JV double, where the 11th-grade tandem of Maria Georgiou and Heidi Zisselman (6:45.91) finished 10 seconds ahead of runner-up Sacred Heart and third-place Conestoga, who were separated by just three-tenths of a second at the finish. The second flight in this category was considerably slower.

The Quakers also won the third flight in the JV quad class, clocking in at 6:43.19 with the quartet of Katie O’Malley, Celina McCall, Maddie Perlmutter, and Tara Malone.

The spotlight doesn’t often shine on fours from Mount St. Joe, but two of them won at the fourth Flick. A time 6:37.96 was good for first place in the second flight of the JV four, where the Magic line-up consisted of coxswain Beth Weinrich and rowers Quinn DeVore, Sarah Curcio, Emma Thompson, and Fiona Kelly. In the lightweight four, Megan Mirabella coxed for Emily McHugh, Rachel Heller, Maura O’Donnell, and Liz McKernan, who took top honors in the first flight in 6:29.66.

In an unusual development, the Mount raced two lightweight eights. The first group (Mary Raggazino – cox, Kait Loftus, Michela Karrash, Maureen Flynn, Kate Mirabella, Leah Ramos, Leah McGlynn, Lexi Meister, Meg O’Brien) went down the course in 5:48.47, placing second behind a tall and talented group from Holy Spirit High School (5:43.08).

In the girls senior single, the only meaningful competition for SCH’s Sager has come from out of town in recent weeks. Last Sunday, the entries included Averyl Freimarck, who has been the subject of a feature story in her hometown paper up in Glen Ridge, NJ. Sager won in 6:58.47 (the headwinds held down the times for all the smaller boats considerably), while her North Jersey rival was runner-up in 7:11.32.

Last Saturday, Mount St. Joseph won the varsity eight race at St. Andrew’s over runner-up National Cathedral School (D.C.) and third-place Merion Mercy Academy. Merion, a Catholic Academies colleague of the Mount’s, churned off the starting line on Sunday and led coming under the Strawberry Mansion Bridge (just a few hundred meters into the course).

“They were ahead for a little bit, but we kept our focus and moved in front,” commented coxswain Erin McElroy, a senior who signed with Northeastern University last November. “When we stay controlled and concentrate on our own boat, the other things take care of themselves.”

The Magic had two-a-day practices all through the previous week (their spring break), and with racing on Saturday, as well, they had to be a little drained, physically.

Not necessarily, according to the V-8 coxswain, who said “I think the two-a-days are really paying off for us. The girls always show up on race day, anyway. They’re always pumped up, so I don’t worry about that.”

The Mount won Sunday’s race in 5:22.95, while Merion was second in 5:28.06 and 2011 Stotesbury Cup champion Radnor High School was third in 5:34.81.

In the practices and the early regattas, the Mount’s emphasis is always on preparing for the big medal races in May.

“It’s like we’re making deposits every day to reach the goal,” McElroy said. “It’s over the next three weeks that we’ll earn our medals, and on race day we just collect them.”

Confident talk, but then self-doubt shouldn’t be part of the equation for a crew that plans to be racing at the Henley Women’s Regatta in June (no crew likes to discus that trip long beforehand in keeping with the universal “one game at a time” mantra, but the fact is that travel and lodging arrangements have to be made well in advance, especially during an Olympic summer in England; in short – they’re going). Bow seat Keira McCloy is a junior, but fellow rowers Dana Lerro, Julie McGlynn, Katie O’Connell, Darian DiCianno, Dana Zielinski, Emily Carbone, and Rose Ehrlich are all seniors, and if you’re not going to set high goals during your final season together, then when?

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