July 22, 2010

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Rowers brave heat at Philadelphia Youth Regatta

Rising senior Taylor Apostolico of Springside School (left) and sophomore Gwynedd Kieffer of Mount St. Joseph Academy each raced for the Fairmount Rowing Association at the Philadelphia Youth Regatta last weekend. Apostolico reached the finals in her event and Kieffer earned bronze medals in two different categories.

The directors of last Saturday’s Philadelphia Youth Regatta like to call the annual event “The world’s most laid-back regatta.” That may have been true for spectators sheltered from the sun in the Kelly Drive grandstand, but out on the water rowers were working as hard as ever while braving temperatures in the mid-90’s.

The races are restricted to athletes 18 years and younger, and several students at area high schools earned bronze medals. Rowers from Germantown Friends, Mount St. Joseph Academy, and Springside School reached the finals in their various events.

A Whitemarsh Boat Club entry that featured five Mount St. Joe students captured the bronze medal in the Junior 18 Four category. The rowers were rising juniors (stroke to bow) Rose Ehrlich, Katie O’Connell, Emily Carbone, and Meg O’Brien, and the coxswain was sophomore Mary Raggazino.

The dominant group in this class was a Nereid Boat Club crew made up of rowers from Montclair High School and Ridgewood High School in northern New Jersey. Whitemarsh finished second in its heat to make the finals, but Nereid was 12 seconds ahead.

Nereid went on to win the final by almost 11 seconds, but a pitched battle for second developed between the Whitemarsh and Fairmount Rowing Association. The Mount rowers had the edge almost until the end, but in the last few strokes Fairmount pushed ahead to claim the silver medal, finishing 0.43 seconds ahead of Whitemarsh.

A rising sophomore from Germantown Friends, Andrew Bair, qualified for the finals in two events as part of the Bachelors Barge Club contingent. In the Junior 16 Double with Lower Merion High School’s Nate Tarshish (who was also his colleague at the Independence Day Regatta), Bair finished second in his morning heat race, then came in fourth in the finals in the middle of the afternoon.

He and Tarshish also joined two other Bachelors scullers in the Junior 16 Quad event. They advanced with a third-place showing in their heat, going on to place fifth in the final round.

Down at Fairmount, Springside’s Apostolico competed in the Junior 18 Double along with Lyssa Freese from Episcopal Academy. They were second in their heat race, but fast duos from other heats really turned it on in the finals, and the Fairmount tandem wound up sixth.

The Mount’s Kieffer was kept busy in two other Fairmount boats, racing five times in six hours. In the Junior 16 Double, a large number of entries caused a semifinal round to be held between the heats and the finals. Kieffer and her partner, Episcopal sophomore Annabelle Kielty,

placed second in both their heat race and in their semifinal. They emerged from the finals with bronze medals, hitting the wire less than a second behind runner-up New York Rowing Association.

Kieffer and Kielty were also part of a Fairmount entry in the Junior 16 Quad. In their heat, they finished second to Bachelors, the eventual champion. In the finals, Undine Barge Club came between these two crews, taking the silver medal less than two seconds ahead of Fairmount. New York R.A. was a distant fourth, 19 seconds behind Kieffer’s crew.

Several other rowers from area schools raced in the heats, but were unable to advance. Springside sophomore Emily Eisler was entered in the Junior 16 double for Crescent Boat Club, while a Junior 18 Four and a Junior 18 quad from Vesper Boat Club each contained two Penn Charter students, senior Jenna Maurer and sophomore Tara Malone.



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