Last Sunday marked the start of what everyone hopes will be a more normal rowing season as the annual series of Manny Flick/Horvat regattas began.
After the complete cancellation of the 2020 crew season, area rowers returned to the Schuylkill racecourse in Fairmount Park last spring, but the schedule was shortened and COVID-19 regulations issued by the City of Philadelphia banned spectators and the customary array of team tents from the riverbank.
Last Sunday marked the start of what everyone hopes will be a more normal season as the annual series of Manny Flick/Horvat regattas began.
At this early stage, area crews did not send out their first-year rowers, but started with the JV races. The exception was Springside Chestnut Hill Academy, which had two boats entered in the girls' novice quad event and had one of them (powered by Madeline Percy, Emma Ludwikowski, Ava Chavez, and Maeve O'Connor) win the race by 22 seconds.
In the girls' JV double, Penn Charter fans saw victorious Ellie Choate and Ella Bretschneider cross the line 28 ticks ahead of the runner-up. The Quakers also excelled in the boys' racing in this category; James Glomb and Scott Sweeney won the faster of two flights by more than a dozen seconds while Harrison Signorello and Matt Clarke came in third in the same race.
In the next event Mount St. Joseph Academy made its debut, taking first place by 37 seconds in the JV four (Sarah Mark - cox, Anna Ledwith - stroke, Emily Feilke, Michaela Kowalski, Sabrina Borzi).
In the two flights of the girls' JV quad, Germantown Friends (Rebecca Rasmussen, Natalie Lau, Lucy Yannella, Leah Cornejo) put up the fastest time overall. Third-place outcomes were earned by Germantown Academy (Aisosa Idahosa, Sarah Beth Sandifer, Ryleigh Dougherty, Olivia Shafer) in one flight and by SCH (Alex Cross, Olivia Caione, Dora Ward, Cecelia Stevenson) in the other.
On the boys' side in the JV quad, a one-two finish was recorded by GFS (Joshua Cappiello, Aiden Cusack, Khalil Dancy, Julian Cheung) and Penn Charter. PC's four scullers (Eli Moulton, James Foley, Jack Bowen, Mac Haines) were the same four who were silver medalists in the freshman quad at the Stotesbury Cup Regatta last spring.
In the lightweight double, the GFS Tigers' tandem of Cara Appleberry and Norah Lee placed second in one of the two flights.
One of the most successful categories for Mount St. Joseph over the years has been the lightweight eight, but entries in that class have dwindled recently and some national regattas have dropped the event. The Magic won't be fielding a light eight this spring, but on Sunday their lightweight four excelled. The Mounties (Chloe Van de Meulebroecke - cox, Aoife Meacle - stroke, Norah McGlynn, Anna Simola, Noelle O'Brien) won their race by 15 seconds over Catholic Academies rival Gwynedd Mercy.
In one of the early varsity races, there were local entries in the two flights of the boys' double. Penn Charter (Jakob Lanfranco, William Kopf) came in second in the second flight, but in the faster flight the Germantown Friends boat (Turner Burns, Aden Solomon) logged a better time while placing third.
In 2021, SCH won the gold medal in the girls' JV quad at the Philadelphia City Championships, and the same four oarswomen (Kaia McTigue, Ashley Keough, Samantha Simon, Gabriela Leon-Palfrey) were back in action last Sunday, now in the varsity quad. The Blue Devils won the second flight by around seven seconds over Conestoga High School, but they'll have to keep an eye out for Inter-Ac League rival Agnes Irwin, which posted a faster time in the first flight.
The faster of two SCH boys' boats in this category (Jack Stevenson, Charles Miles, Jude Halfpenny, Andrew Topping) won the second section by more than nine seconds, but as in the girls' event, another Inter-Ac crew, Haverford School, put up a faster time in the first heat.
In the earliest regattas each spring, Mount St. Joseph customarily enters more boats than just its actual varsity eight in the varsity eight events. That held true again in Sunday's first Flick, as the first section of the V-8 featured boats which will evolve into the JV eight and the second varsity eight.
Merion Mercy won this flight, with second place going to the Mount's ersatz JV eight (Angelina Baker - cox, Anna Fedders - stroke, Meghan Krumenacker, Clara Pagano, Maya McCottry, Kari Prosperi, Ellie Fazio, Grace Kyle, Molly Maher) and third place to what will become the second eight (Giovanna Consiglio - cox, Grace McDonough - stroke, Julia Geib, Francesca Fede, Leah Manzo-McCottry, Allegra Rawson, Kate Kelly, Evelyn McGreevey, Caitlin O'Reilly).
From the second boat, the Mount is sending Consiglio and Manzo-McCottry on to the crew program at Gonzaga University, while Geib heads to Villanova and McDonough to Fairfield.
The second flight of the varsity eight featured a full six-boat field (lacking in many categories earlier in the day). Here, the Mount flagship (Annmarie Wallis - cox, Maggie Horgan - stroke, Kathryn Sponseller, Sarah Powell, Alexa Konowal, Caroline Johnson, Nina Rowello, Kelly Cleary, Grace Hartzell) quickly took charge and powered to a comfortable victory, also eclipsing the winning time from the first flight.
Out of this group, so far Horgan has signed on with Drexel, Powell has come to terms with Tennessee, and Wallis will join up with Notre Dame.