Area crews race on Schuylkill for first time since 2019

by Tom Utescher
Posted 4/13/21

After a tense period of waiting for official approval from the City of Philadelphia, rowers from area schools were back out racing on the Kelly Drive course last Sunday for the first time since 2019. …

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Area crews race on Schuylkill for first time since 2019

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After a tense period of waiting for official approval from the City of Philadelphia, rowers from area schools were back out racing on the Kelly Drive course last Sunday for the first time since 2019. The usual festive row of team tents along the riverbank was not to be found (no spectators were allowed), but there was plenty of activity on the Schuylkill itself for crews from Germantown Academy, Germantown Friends, Mount St. Joseph Academy, Penn Charter, and Springside Chestnut Hill.

In normal years, the third of the customary five Manny Flick Races (the equivalent of the "regular season" for rowers) marks of the beginning of a gender-split schedule. Since there are only three Flicks altogether this spring, this format was instituted right from the get-go last Sunday. All of the girls' events ran in the morning, followed by boys' competition later on.

Springside Chestnut Hill Academy's best result during mid-morning competition came in the girls' freshman quad, with the Blue Devils represented by Olivia Hayes (stroke), Alexandra Cross, Karina Chan-VanderHelm, and Brynn Donohue. They garnered second place in a widely separated quartet of crews.

Later on, SCH won by 10 seconds in the JV quad, with Samantha Simon (stroke), Ashley Keough, Ella Ward, and Kaia McTigue swinging the sticks.

In the afternoon, the top result for the boys was a 14-second victory in the JV quad, a feat performed by Jack Stephenson (stroke), Jude Halfpenny, Andrew Topping, and Samuel Halfpenny.

Blue Devils Theodore Tasman, Charles Miles, Luca Belmonte, and Sam Meyer were originally slated for the lightweight quad class, but their race was scrapped for lack of participants. They moved into one of the three flights in the varsity quad instead, and wound up just one second out of second place, finishing third.

In girls' competition, one of the better outcomes for Germantown Friends occurred in the varsity quad class. Third in a field of five for the Tigers were Amelia Sanchirico, Sophia Ortega, Taylor Peterson, and Nora Lee.

The boys turned in two second-place finishes later on in the day; Aden Solomon competed in the JV single, and Rich Soong and Otis Harrison staffed the lightweight double.

The highlight for the GA Patriots came in the boys' varsity double, where seasoned boatmates Andreas Moeller and Alex Walkush finished first in their flight by five seconds. Three girls' boats took third place, but there were no more than four participants in any of those races.

Penn Charter started out with two girls' vessels that finished in the middle of a three-boat field, the novice quad (Charlotte Baker - stroke, Merrill Gadsden, Lindsay Gadsden, Ella Bretschneider) and the freshman quad (Claire Lewis - stroke, Elizabeth Choate, Colleen McLafferty, Frances Guenther).

Winning second place in junior varsity racing was PC's JV double, which was powered by Emelia Malhotra (stroke) and Isabella Salvi.

The best outcome for the boys featured the freshman quad containing Elias Moulton (stroke), James Foley, Jack Bowen, and Mackenzie Haines. They came in third in a five-boat affair, but were just five one-hundredths of a second behind the runner-up from Inter-Ac League rival Haverford School.

Mount St. Joseph's day began with two novice quads competing in two different flights and finishing second and third. In the official freshman eight race the Magic were victorious, winning by six-and-a-half seconds with a crew made up of Angelina Baker (cox), Anna Ledwith (stroke), Meghan Krumenacker, Kari Prosperi, Caroline Johnson, Clara Pagano, Ellie Fazio, Grace Kyle, and Norah McGlynn.

Next, a full 15 seconds separated the Mount's first-place JV four (Chloe Van de Muelebroecke - cox, Sarah Burns - stroke, Nina Rowello, Brianna Montgomery, Aoife Meacle) from the runner-up in its race.

The lightweight four won by a whopping 20 seconds through the efforts of Giovanna Consiglio (cox), Evelyn McGreevey (stroke), Christina Kelly, Maeve Carmody, and Sonia Marhefka.

For Sunday's season debut, Mount St. Joe did not race its projected varsity eight rowers together, but split them up into crews racing in the second eight and varsity eight categories. Both races primarily came down to competition with rival boats from Moorestown High School.

The second eight (Ella Valencia - cox, Maggie Newell - stroke, Izzy McCafferty, Hannah Lemanowicz, Sydney McKernan, Cassie Koestler, Sarah Gorovitz, Michaela Donato, and Liz Dolich) defeated the New Jersey boat by 14 seconds.

In the varsity eight class, the Magic held a slim lead alongside Peter's Island, but Moorestown was making a serious move. The Quakers were first to the wire, 0.29 seconds ahead of the MSJ crew of Annmarie Wallis (cox), Grace McDonough (stroke), Julia Geib, Margaret Horgan, Leah Manzo-McCottry, Sarah Powell, Kate Kelly, Kelly Cleary, and Alexa Konowal.

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