Major medal haul for area girls at City Champs

Posted 5/7/18

by Tom Utescher

Area girls’ rowing programs enhanced their collection of precious medals last weekend, hauling home prizes from the Philadelphia City Championships on the Schuylkill.

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Major medal haul for area girls at City Champs


by Tom Utescher

Area girls’ rowing programs enhanced their collection of precious medals last weekend, hauling home prizes from the Philadelphia City Championships on the Schuylkill.

Sending all nine of the boats it entered on to the final round on Sunday, Mount St. Joseph Academy captured six medals, including gold for the freshman eight, JV eight and lightweight eight. Germantown Friends’ girls earned a silver medal and three golds (the GFS boys won another three), winning the novice single, the novice quad and the varsity single events.

There were three silver medals and a bronze for Springside Chestnut Hill Academy, and a silver for the Penn Charter Quakers.

At the end of the Manny Flick/Horvat series of “regular season” races, it was announced that Mount St. Joseph had continued its long streak of winning the overall points trophy for girls’ sweep rowing programs, while Germantown Friends finished third among the female scullers.

As the City Championships got underway last Saturday, most crews started out in head races, with boats sent out one by one and then ranked according to time. The six fastest advanced directly to the finals on Sunday afternoon, although in a few categories there were enough entries for a semifinal stage. In other classes with six or fewer crews signed up, the rowers proceeded directly into a final race, with no qualifying round.

This last scenario applied to Mount St. Joseph’s lightweight eight (Abby Schwenger, Karsen Healy, Maddie Sandquist, Lauren Vesey, Claire Broderick, Nora Hogan, Harriett Blatney, MaryKate Ciolko, Shayne McKernan) and the MSJ second eight (Izzy Mina, Grace Morrow, Aine Playdon, Katie Hallahan, Molly McKenna, Julia Flynn, Katelynn Clement, Sam Cordero, Christie Faust).

Also proceeding directly to a final race were the novice quads from GFS (Sophia Ortega, Luzia Nehez, Amelia Sanchirico, Annika Ehrlacher) and Springside Chestnut Hill (Simone Tate, Iris Alex, Guilia Giordano, Charlotte Reitmeyer).

As the championships got underway in the middle of the day on Saturday, GFS had Evelyn Anderson advance in the very first event, the gig/novice single. SCH got its first crew through in the freshman/novice double, where Kelly Doerzbacher and Lenny Lorenz turned in the second-best time overall.

The Mount’s strong ninth-grade class saw its first action in the novice eight head races, and both Magic entries advanced. Producing the top time was the Mount “A” boat (Ella Valencia, Michaela Donato, Kate Roberts, Emma Del Vecchio, Caroline Kyle, Claire Hanycz, Maura Scanlon, Emma Dougherty, Nicole Uzzo), while MSJ “B” (Arlyn Kryst, Hannah Rossmeisl, Julia Norton, Maddy Donahue, Ruby French, Luca Bixby, Lindsay Shearman, Julianna Shouldis, Sarah Gorovitz) was timed fourth out of the top six.

Both area entries in the freshman quad advanced, with the SCH Blue Devils (Ella Webb, Polly Sweeney, Kiley McTamney, Olivia McHugh) ranked third on time, while the quartet from Penn Charter (Alyssa Neducsin, Amanda Cowhey, Taylor Lokoff, Julia Veith) was fifth.

The young Mounties remained on a roll in the freshman eight head racing, as the crew of Caroline Donahue, Izzy McCafferty, Kaylee Dougherty, Hannah Lemanowicz, Cate Van Stone, Ena Altier, Sydney McKernan, Maggie Newell and Olivia Guza recorded the top time overall.

At the other end of the size spectrum, a pair of JV singles advanced in their category; Penn Charter’s Lucy Alter put up the second-best time, and ranked fifth was Amory Park of Germantown Friends. PC also got its JV double through to Sunday competition, as Gabby Mancini and Riley McDade graded out fourth on time.

This highly-populated category featured a semi-final round, so instead of just six boats moving on, a dozen doubles would race in two different sections early on Sunday. This allowed a pair of Germantown Friends twosomes to keep going, Meg Bigelow and Megan Hua (ninth) and Isabel Ortega and Vanessa Mirage (11th).

There was the same three-stage arrangement for the even more crowded JV four event. Two Mount St. Joseph boats powered through to the semi’s; in third place were Sofia Bernal, Caitlin Lawson, Maureen McGreevey, Kaitlyn Squadrito and Brigit Ferry, and in fourth were Lauren Walsh, Anna Murphy, Ilsa Maguire, Ainsley Morasco and Nora Broderick. As in 2017, Lower Merion High School had a very fast entry in this category.

It was back to a two-stage format for the girls’ JV quads, and Germantown Academy advanced to the finals with a number five time from Maylin Lindsey, Margaret Horvat, Elizabeth Berlinger and Addy Campbell.

Then it was on to the eights, and the Mount jayvees kept on rockin’ as they have all spring. The Magic (Katie Greed, Julia Woodrow, Lauren Kiefner, Emily Lubinski, Eva Timoney, Riley Gorman, Mae Sweeney, Julia Ianieri, Eileen McKenna) cranked out a first-place time that was more than 13 seconds better than that of the runner-up crew.

There was also a top-ranked time for Paige Aloise and Bridget Hennessy in the SCH lightweight double. Germantown Friends’ Zaynab Sanogo and Isabel Mehta also advanced here, coming in sixth on time.

A solo Tiger, Andy Regli, discouraged the rest of the varsity single scullers by getting down the course 11 seconds ahead of the number two finisher. The GFS tandem of Kim Hua and Katie Maguire ended up ranked second in the varsity double category, where third-place SCH (Hope Lee, Olivia Clark) and fifth-place GA (Elizabeth Wescott, Julia McKernan) also advanced.

Near the end of Saturday’s race program, the big girls churned up the waters in the varsity eights. New Jersey’s Holy Spirit High School had a three-second jump on the rest of the field, and Mount St. Joe (Maddie Walsh, Gia Hunt, Katie Edling, Cathryn Antonacio, Brynn Pelletier, Gabi Natale, Caroline Timoney, Aydin McPhilemy, Erica Arnold) placed third, about half-a-second behind number two Merion Mercy.

Sunday’s action commenced with an hour-long semifinal round in the limited number of events that followed that format. One of these was the JV double category, where the Penn Charter twosome advanced with a second-place outcome in the first semi, while each of the two GFS boats reached the end of their run. The two Mount vessels involved in this stage both advanced, one coming in first and the other second in different semifinals races in the JV four.

Although the water was not particularly rough, the finals got off to a rocky start with three of the six novice singles capsizing along the course and a fourth flipping over just after getting its bowball across the finish line for a bronze medal. Among the two finalists who never got wet was Germantown Friends’ Anderson, who captured the gold medal.

A little later, the SCH freshman double finished fourth in its race. The two Mount novice eights were up next. After Episcopal Academy won and the Academy of Notre Dame placed second, the Mount “B” boat (stroked by Rossmeisl) won the bronze medal and the “A” boat came in fourth.

In the novice quads, which had not had to qualify the day before, the GFS Tigers picked up their second gold medal, while SCH snagged silver.

Haddon Township (N.J.) won the freshman quad convincingly, while the silver medal went to Springside Chestnut Hill, which turned back a challenge from Conestoga High School.

First in qualifying and slotted in lane three, the Mount St. Joseph freshman eight steamed down the middle of the course and secured the gold medal five seconds ahead of runner-up Merion Mercy.

The JV racing started off with Penn Charter’s Alter winning silver in her single, while Park placed fourth for GFS. The Quakers’ JV double found a medal just out of reach, coming in fourth just 19 one-hundreths of a second behind bronze medalist Baldwin School.

As anticipated, Lower Merion won the JV four final, but the Mount four stroked by Lawson won the silver medal while its sister ship came in fifth. After Germantown Academy placed fifth in the JV quad, Mount St. Joseph acquired its second gold medal as the JV eight rampaged to a 12-second triumph over the next crew to arrive at the finish, Moorestown (N.J.) High School.

Near the end of the lightweight double final SCH was closing rapidly on the leader, Conestoga, but wound up a few strokes short. Aloise and Hennessy took the silver just 18 one-hundredths of a second behind the Pioneers, while the GFS finalists finished sixth.

Jumping out on the field as the lightweight eight final got underway, the Mount Magic declared “let them eat wake,” crowning themselves with gold while the runner-up straggled in almost 20 seconds later. There was a much tighter race in the second eight final, and here the Magic was edged in a finishing sprint by Ocean City High School. This was truly a two-boat race, with the third-place crew timed about 26 seconds behind the silver-medalist Mounties.

Germantown Friends’ Regli, who had only rowed a single occasionally this spring, nipped a Friend Select School rival by a little under a second to take home the gold medal in the first of the varsity level finals. New Jersey’s Ridgewood High School won comfortably in the varsity double, and three area boats followed in order. GFS won the silver, SCH earned the bronze medal and Germantown Academy was fourth.

Although the rain showers that had been forecast for late in the day didn’t arrive until after the championships concluded, the regatta came to a somewhat dreary conclusion for Mount St. Joe fans. The Magic have quality ingredients for their varsity eight, but are still searching for the recipe that will successfully blend them together.

In the final, top qualifier Holy Spirit faded to third place behind gold medalist Moorestown High and runner-up Merion Mercy. The Mount came in fourth and had to work for that place, edging Ocean City by one one-hundreth of a second. Sixth-place Archbishop Carroll was the outlier, 10 seconds off the back of the pack.