by Tom Utescher

Penn Charter rowers were particularly well represented last Saturday at an annual summer event devoted exclusively to scholastic competitors, the Philadelphia Youth Regatta.

Rising senior and Chestnut Hill resident Maria Georgiou was part of two gold medal crews operating out of the Fairmount Rowing Association, where fellow Quakers Tara Malone (another senior), Isa Djerassi and Celina McCall (who will both be juniors) were also based. PC senior Kevin Kelly was farther up Boathouse Row at Penn A.C., racing a Junior 18 single.

Another member of the Fairmount roster was Rebecca Genyk, who will enter Germantown Friends School as a freshman in September, and whose brother, Ethan (a junior), has raced for GFS during the last two high school seasons. She, along with Charter’s McCall and Djerassi, was still young enough to compete in the Junior 16 category at this year’s PYR.

Djerassi started out in a J-16 double which finished third in its heat race, missing a trip to the finals by one place. In what was by far the faster of two heats in the Girls J-18 quad, Georgiou and her boatmates won by almost 15 seconds. Malone started her day about 15 minutes later as part of a J-18 four, but a fifth-place showing was not high enough for a trip to the finals that afternoon.

Andrew Bair, a rising senior at GFS who successfully raced a junior single this spring, had been entered in a double for the Youth Regatta, but his partner suffered an injury prior to the race. Jen Sager, a 2012 Springside Chestnut Hill Academy graduate who was the scholastic national champion in the senior single, has been rowing for Vesper this summer, but she missed the age cut-off for the Youth Regatta by a little over one month and could not compete.

In the J-18 boys single last weekend, there were enough entries to necessitate three rounds of racing for the Quakers’ Kelly and his peers. The PC senior came in second in the last of six heats to earn a spot in the semifinal round. His second race was scheduled just 80 minutes after his first, and it was fortunate that the weather was much cooler than it had been earlier in the week.

Kelly’s semi-final race was won by rising Germantown Academy senior Eric Blood, who was followed by a rower from Teaneck, N.J. Alongside Peter’s Island, Kelly was in a duel for third place, but his rival from Vesper Boat Club sprinted strongly the rest of the way, actually closing up the gap on the leaders while nabbing the last ticket to the finals. GA’s Blood went on to win the championship by three seconds over a rower from Nereid Boat Club in Rutherford, N.J.

Kelly’s semifinal was the last race before the final round began, and just a few minutes later Georgiou was on the course in the finals of the J-18 quad. The Quakers senior and her three colleagues (from Episcopal Academy, Baldwin and Upper Dublin High School) put this one away early, and won by a full 10 seconds over runner-up River Rowing of Nyack, N.Y.

After another brief interval, McCall and Genyk came down the course in Fairmount’s J-16 eight, which went straight to a final race due to a dearth of entries. They placed third, behind a victorious Virginia crew and in between two boats from New York.

There also had been no preliminary heats in the regular girls eight category, where Georgiou was back in action for Fairmount. The victory here was even more impressive than in the quad, with Fairmount crossing the line 18 seconds ahead of the second-place Syracuse Chargers.

A mere 20 minutes later, Georgiou and her boatmates (again from a number of different schools) took part in a novelty event, a quarter-mile long (as opposed to the 2000-meter standard for the regatta) “dash” race in the eight. Here they came in second, helping Fairmount win the team points trophy by a wide margin.

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