West Windsor, NJ - The Rockland youth rowing team opened the 2017 sprint season on Sunday at the Mercer Sprints/ISA Sculling Championships where the boy's varsity lightweight double won bronze. The 2,000 meter course conditions were flat for the singles races, but the wind touched down and created a slight crosshead for the remaining races.
The morning started with the varsity girls suffering an early defeat. Julia Nelson Tappan Zee '17 and Juliette Frank Ramapo NJ '17 raced in the varsity singles and the duo of Frankie Fradianni Nyack '17 (stroke) and Ariel Deljanin N Valley Regional '18 (bow) raced together in both the varsity pair and varsity double, all finished last in their heats. "The girls fell short this morning and didn't do what they are capable of doing,” said Melissa Boyd, head coach. “It is only the first race of the season. I have a lot of confidence in these girls and know from experience that they have much better races in them. Over the next few weeks we will work towards making some changes to help them execute fully on race day."
The day turned around when novice rowers Vanessa Even-Chen Ramapo NJ '19 and Gabriele Welp IHA '19 made their 2k racing debut and finished fourth in a pair of events. "Mercer was a great first race for Vanessa and me," said Welp who felt they held their own. "We really kept our place and added to the competition." The girls raced in the varsity lightweight double and shortly thereafter the second varsity double. "I thought they did great," Boyd said. "They are relatively young and were up against more experienced competition. They took a big step forward as a far as their confidence goes and showing us at what level they can race. We can look forward to them developing and they will be a fun duo to watch."
Alexander Arcasoy Northern Highlands '17 raced in the boy's varsity single against strong opponents. "I was able to throw in a few extra power tens," said Arcasoy who had an aggressive race, but dropped a close gap of less than two seconds to advance to the finals. "I'm personally hoping to improve much more before qualifiers and I think that this race was an eye opener to how far we all have come but also how far we still have to go to be the best we can."
The highlight of the day was the boy's varsity lightweight double of Dilan Lakhani Clarkstown '18 (stroke) and Alex Bondorowsky Northern Highlands '19 (bow) who captured bronze. "They put together a solid race and demonstrated the work and improvements we made in practice," said Boyd.
"A huge thanks to PNRA/Mercer for hosting and great competition," Boyd said. "The regatta provided an early season measure for how we compare to the teams we will race later on. We are looking forward to the next three weeks and taking a few more steps forward before the Mid-Atlantic Championships."
Rockland is back on the water at the Cooper Cup on April 30.