Big medal haul for local crews at City Championships

by Tom Utescher
Posted 5/10/23

Members of area sculling programs made many trips to the awards dock at the Kelly Drive grandstand last weekend, earning medals at the Philadelphia City Championships.

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Big medal haul for local crews at City Championships


Members of area sculling programs made many trips to the awards dock at the Kelly Drive grandstand last weekend, earning medals at the Philadelphia City Championships that took place on the Schuylkill on Saturday and Sunday.

Germantown Friends captured gold medals in the girls' freshman quad, girls' JV double, and girls' JV quad, and the Tigers took home four silver medals and one bronze, to boot.

The boys' freshman/novice double and the girls' novice quad events were both won by boats from Penn Charter, which collected one silver and one bronze medal, as well. Three silver medals and two bronze medals were earned by Springside Chestnut Hill Academy.

Most crews participated in time trials on Saturday morning and afternoon, vying for a place in Sunday's final round.

With very few entries in certain categories, there were some boats from area schools which didn't have to race in time trials, getting placed in the finals from the get-go.

This included the Germantown Friends boys' (Chenyue Peng, Daniel Sandroni, Shenghao Yuan, Andrew Li) and girls' (Nola Schaenen, Isabella Ammon, Adeline Williams, Sylvia Kim) freshman quads. Also going straight to the final round were three boats from Springside Chestnut Hill, the girls' freshman quad (Charlotte Trayes, Iris Dobeck, Ariya Goswami, Grian O'Connor) and the lightweight quads for both girls (Ava Cross, Olivia Hayes, Emma Schwartz, Dora Ward) and boys (Elias Eckert, Declan Lemole, Conor Murphy, Brendan Jolly).

GFS saw its girls' JV quad (Cara Appleberry, Rebecca Rasmussen, Natalie Lau, Leah Cornejo) turn in the best trials time by three seconds, while its boys boat in this category (Anand Rajagopalan, Luke Lendler, Shachar Pinto, Jasper Furnas) was timed in third place.

Lucy Yannella and Lila Donovan ranked second in their JV double, while third-place times were recorded by Emilia Cropf in the girls' JV single and by Aidan Cusack and Josh Cappiello in the boys' varsity double.

With a lot of entries in their event, Cusack and Cappiello went on to race in a 12-boat semifinal round (six in each flight). The same was true for the Tigers' Julian Cheung, who placed fourth in the trials for the boy's JV single, and for Neelmani Robinson and Leo Katowitz, who were fifth in the boys' JV double. Cheung did not advance out of the semifinals, but the Tigers' JV and varsity boys' doubles proceeded to the finals, both placing second in their semifinal races.

Germantown Academy had two boys' boats advance to the semifinals in their categories. Timed 11th in the JV double, the Patriots' Max Rinnander and Andrew Wells joined the 12 boats moving on, and Haiden Bonczek kept going with his sixth-place showing in the varsity single trials.

Only the top three finishers in each of the two semifinals in each category would advance, and on Sunday morning Rinnander and Wells placed sixth in their race while Bonczek missed the cut by one place, finishing fourth.

Penn Charter received top trials times from three different boats, the boys' freshman/novice double (Liam Haines, Rainer Malhotra), the girls' JV double (Claire Lewis, Zoe Page), and the girls' varsity double (Ellie Choate, Ella Bretschneider).

In each of the last two of these events, PC had a second entry which also went through to the finals. In the JV double, Grace Agosto and Grace Magee were fifth in the trials, while Merrill Gadsden and Lindsay Gadsden ranked fourth in the varsity double.

In the boys' varsity double, the Quakers' James Glomb and Scott Sweeney were second in trials, a whisker faster than Cusack and Cappiello from GFS. They would have to race in a semifinal round, as was the case for their teammate Jack Davey, who was eighth in the boys' JV single. While Davey's weekend ended in the semifinals, Glomb and Sweeney won their semifinal race and earned a spot in the final round.

On the other hand, Charter's girls' novice quad (Caroline Sumner, Hannah Aldinger, Penelope Gray, Liliana DeMartinis) moved right into the finals after turning in the third-best time on Saturday. Placing fifth in the trials, and also gaining the finals, were PC's Charlotte Baker in the girls' varsity single, and Elias Moulton, James Foley, Jack Bowen, and Mac Haines, in the boys' JV quad.

Springside Chestnut Hill had a number of girls' boats in the freshman/novice categories qualify for the finals. The novice quad (Eleanor Ballantin, Lida Goloveyko, Joanna Leon-Palfrey, Cooper Bode) placed second in its time trial, while a freshman/novice double (Elizabeth O'Brien, Rose Rush-King) was third and the Blue Devils' novice single raced by Quinn Seawright was fifth.

In a single in the JV grouping, Gabrielle McHugh nabbed the fourth-best time and went on to finals, and the same position was earned by the SCH girls' JV quad (Nadia Stockman, Emma Ludwikowski, Maeve O'Connor, Olivia Caione).

The boys' JV quad (Ward Dobeck, Noah Coomes, Andrew Saunders, Keith Angell) got to the finals with the sixth time in its trials, and the girls' varsity quad (Caitlin Keough, Madeline Percy, Ava Chavez, Sam Simon) went through with the fifth time in its event.

Weather conditions were sunny and growing warm as the championship round of racing began late on Sunday morning. In the girls' freshman quad, the gold and silver medals went to Germantown Friends (in five minutes, 42.59 seconds) and Springside Chestnut Hill (5:45.51), respectively.

Next the GFS boys' freshman quad garnered the silver medal, following Ridgewood (N.J.) High School to the finish line.

Young SCH girls' crews fared differently over the next few races. The novice single came in fifth, but the freshman/novice double won a silver medal after Friends Select took the gold.

The boys in Penn Charter's freshman/novice double continued to perform well, securing the school's first gold medal three seconds ahead of runner-up Episcopal Academy.

In the girls' novice quad final, PC captured the gold medal in 6:04.29 and SCH won the bronze in 6:08.84, with a Ridgewood duo finishing in between.

There were also two area finalists in the girls' JV single. Here, Germantown Friends' Cropf picked up the bronze medal, while McHugh of SCH placed sixth.

In the girls' JV double, the Tigers' Yannella and Donovan rowed with authority and produced a gold-medal effort in a time of 6:34.28. Penn Charter's "A" boat, stroked by Lewis, got the silver medal in 6:50.43, and PC "B" finished fourth. In the boys' final in this event, Haverford School won with just two seconds to spare over silver medalists Robinson and Katowitz of GFS, who have raced together all spring.

In the girls' JV quad, Conestoga High School tried to make a late move against the Germantown Friends quartet, but the Tigers would have none of it. They won gold in 5:59.95 and 'Stoga was second in 6:03.80, while the boat from SCH came in fifth.

There were three area finalists in the boys' JV quad. North Jersey's Seton Hall Prep won handily, but GFS scooped up the silver medal. Penn Charter and Springside Chestnut Hill placed fourth and sixth, respectively.

The Blue Devils' fortunes then improved as both of its lightweight quads won medals. The girls were second behind a Conestoga boat, while the boys finished third, just 31-hundreths of a second behind silver medalist Concord High School from Wilmington, Del.

Now it was time for the varsity finals, and Penn Charter started out with a fifth-place outcome in the girls' single. One of the Quakers' girls' doubles, stroked by Choate, won a bronze medal in the event, while the other PC tandem wound up sixth.

Ridgewood won the boys' double in 5:44.55, while GFS, holding second, was challenged late in the race by Malvern Prep. The Tigers' Cusack and Cappiello fought off the Friars, seizing the silver medal in 5:47.88 while Malvern got bronze in 5:49.29. Glomb and Sweeney of Penn Charter were in fourth place.

The day ended for the area sculling programs with the girls' varsity quad final. Conestoga won it, but the SCH boat, racing near the riverbank in lane one, appeared to catch a crab more than once, coming in sixth.