Crew freshmen and novices have a day of their own

by Tom Utescher
Posted 5/4/21

Last weekend in high school crew, the Philadelphia City Championships took place over two days, as usual, but the format was a bit different than normal. In an effort to limit the number of people …

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Crew freshmen and novices have a day of their own


Last weekend in high school crew, the Philadelphia City Championships took place over two days, as usual, but the format was a bit different than normal. In an effort to limit the number of people congregating on the banks of the Schuylkill during the COVID-19 pandemic, it was decided that Saturday's race schedule would be devoted to freshman and novice crews. Their older schoolmates would compete the following day.

The format for the young rowers on Saturday resembled that of a "regular season" Manny Flick regatta, with almost every category featuring several flights of competitors. There were no semifinals or finals, so to keep in line with the "championship" aspect of the regatta's title, the winners of each flight of an event received a medal and in each category, the crew putting up the fastest time out of all flights was recognized as the event champion and received a trophy and a plaque.

Two boats from area schools emerged as overall class champions, the freshman eight from Mount St. Joseph Academy (Angelina Baker - cox, Anna Ledwith - stroke, Meghan Krumenacker, Kari Prosperi, Caroline Johnson, Clara Pagano, Ellie Fazio, Grace Kyle, Molly Maher), and the boys' novice quad from Penn Charter (Scott Sweeney, James Glomb, Matthew Clarke, Harrison Signorello).

Controlling their race the whole way, the Mounties won the first flight by 17 seconds over Moorestown (N.J.) High School. They were also five seconds quicker than the second-fastest crew, which proved to be Montclair (N.J.) High School in the second flight.

The PC foursome won their own race by a whopping margin; Haverford School straggled across the line in second place 27 seconds later. Another Inter-Ac League rival, Malvern Prep, won another flight, but was still 10 seconds off the pace of the Quakers' quad.

In another section of the novice quad, the lads from Springside Chestnut Hill Academy (Elias Eckert, Shaun Gupte, Evan Champagne, Matthew Leon-Palfrey) placed second behind Malvern and put up the third-fastest time in the overall field.

Another Penn Charter quad, the girls' novice boat (Merrill Gadsden, Charlotte Baker, Lindsay Gadsden, Ella Bretschneider), won its flight and placed second overall in terms of time. Also in the third flight of this event was a Germantown Friends School crew (Rebecca Rasmussen, Natalie Lau, Madeline Ohta, Cara Appleberry) that finished right behind Charter and was fourth in time to PC and two crews from Haddon Township (N.J.) High School.

Penn Charter's first success had come early in the day's schedule, in the boys' freshman quad (Elias Moulton, James Foley, Jack Bowen, Mackenzie Haines). In the second flight here, they battled Haverford School almost down to the wire, winning by two seconds. Conestoga High School's time in the first flight was best by far, and the runner-up to the Pioneers was a fraction of a second faster than the Quakers.

Unlike most Inter-Ac schools, which stick to sculling exclusively, Germantown Academy usually sends out one or two sweep rowing boats (one oar per rower, with a coxswain on board). Last Saturday GA's girls' novice four (Ryleigh Dougherty, Olivia Pacitti, Sarah Sandifer, Raina Bandekar) achieved second-place standing overall for the Patriots.

They won the first flight of the event by almost nine seconds, with their time eclipsed only by second-flight winner Merion Mercy, a sweep program through and through.

In the girls' freshman/novice double, Germantown Friends (Ella Keim, Ana Vucetic) finished second in the third flight of the event, and with this being a fast heat, the Tigers were ranked fourth on time out of all the entries.

In the boys' competition in this category, Luca Bergamini and Julian Cheung came in second in the opening flight. With some fast heats to follow, they were sixth on time in the end. Also sixth on time was SCH's Cecelia Stevenson in the girls' novice single/gig. She came in third in the first flight in this class.

Mount St. Joe's freshman eight had raced early; two boats containing other young Mounties launched late in the afternoon in the novice eight class. The first of four flights in this event turned out to be the slowest of the bunch, and here the Mounties made the most of this.

The MSJ vessel in this heat (Ava Vavra (cox), Julia Fede (stroke), Allegra Rawson, Sine Thompson, Anna Simola, Anna Fedders, Grace Fullmer, Noelle O'Brien, Lola Figueroa-Clark) turned in a solid effort and placed second. The other Magic nov-8, which has been a bit faster mush of the season, won the second flight by more than a dozen seconds.

After two fast races in the last two flights, this batch of Mount novices (Sarah Mark (cox), Michaela Kowalski (stroke), Emily Feilke, Lexi Kerekes, Maya Manzo-McCottry, Maddie Norton, Sabrina Borzi, Ella Vangen, Norah McGlynn) wound up third overall in the time rankings.


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