West Windsor, NJ - Rockland Rowing youth rowers concluded their spring season Saturday at the regional championships hosted by PNRA. Due to an unusual May Nor'easter the racing format was adjusted from heats to time trials for the opening round. The rapidly deteriorating weather ended the racing before the conclusion of time trials and all finals were cancelled. "The weather was a key factor in our results today," said head coach Melissa Boyd, "however there were some very bright spots for our team, specifically our upperclassman earned a bid to Youth Nationals, our younger rowers won a silver medal, and aside from the cancelled boy's U17 4x time trail everyone walked away with valuable race experience."
Three seniors raced in the varsity singles event. Julia Nelson Tappan Zee '17 and Juliette Frank Ramapo NJ '17 competed in the girl's single and finished 6th (9:41) and 7th (9:52) of 8 respectively. Nelson will row at Lehigh this fall and said, "Mid-Atlantics felt like the strongest and best race this spring; it was a great way to finish the season." Fran was recruited to UCLA this fall and concluded, "My last race as a high school senior was definitely not ideal. The weather was awful and it was not my best race, but I think it shows that regattas are unpredicable and you have to adapt and make the best of out it! It was a great run at Rockland Rowing as a high school student and I couldn't imagine rowing anywhere else!" Alexander Arcasoy Northern Highlands '17 raced in the boy's single and finished 10th of 15 in the time trial with a time of 8:29. Alex said, "I felt as if I was cooled down before even starting and only felt on my A game after the first 1,000 meters." Arcasoy plans to row at Northeastern in the fall.
All of RRA's three varsity doubles entries had last minute issues which required reworking the lineups. In the girl's lightweight double, Gabriele Welp IHA '19 (stroke) partnered with Michaela Davidson Clarkstown North '19 (bow) and they finished fifth out of six with a time of 8:47; Lucy Jackson Nyack '18 raced with Vanessa Even-Chen Ramapo NJ '19 in the varsity double and they finished 12th out of 14 with a time of 9:44; and in the boy's lightweight double, Dilan Lakhani Clarkstown '18 partnered with Ryan Almond Clarkstown North '20 where they finished 10th, last in their time trial with a time of 8:36.
In the girl's varsity pair, Frankie Fradianni Nyack '17 and Ariel Deljanin N Valley Regional '18 took third-place with a time of 9:30 which earned the team a bid to the USRowing Youth National Championships in Sarasota, Florida. They finished 17" closer to the winning crew from Mountain Lakes from when they faced them last at Mercer Sprints. "This duo improved all season long and I'm really proud of them," said Boyd. Fradianni is a senior and was recruited to row at UNC an said, "Mid-Atlantics was a difficult race, we faced obstacles such as wind, rain, and cold. We put up a fight and I am so proud of us for qualifying for nationals. I have been rowing with RRA for almost six years now, so this race was bittersweet. I will miss all the memories and friends I have made, but I am prepared and excited to row in college. It has been a great experience rowing a pair this season."
In the girl's U17 single, Davidson had her second race of the day and narrowly missed a podium finish ending up fourth with a time of 11:33.82 behind Harvey's Lake (11:32.20).
In the girl's novice four the crew of Emilie Mazzola Briarcliff 2018 (coxswain) and rowers Lucy Jackson Nyack '18 (stroke), Celia Bernhardt Nyack '18 (three), Isabel Wecht Nyack '18 (two) and Lucinda Carroll Nyack '19 (bow) finished 9th out of 16 with a time of 9:58. This was the girls' first sweep race. "Having Emilie as our coxswain was beneficial . . . not only to give us commands but to provide us with that extra push of motivation for the last 500 meters," said bow seat Lucinda. "The resilience I felt with my boat though the rain and wind showed how committed our team really is."
In the girl's U17 double, Welp and Even-Chen took silver when they clocked in at 9:37 behind Whitemarsh (9:33) and ahead of South Jersey (9:39). This was their highest finish all season. "I want to congratulate them for getting a medal. Their perseverance paid off and in their first season of rowing together they have already made a big impact on the team," said Boyd.
The boy's U17 4x time trial was cancelled on account of the deteriorating weather. The crew of Ryan Almond Clarkstown North '20, Anthony Rostek Tappan Zee '20, Kevin McCabe N.Valley Demarest '20 and Billy Grippi Tappan Zee '20. "The rain, wind, and cold temperature was awful and seeing people shivering everywhere made my 2nd regatta seem like a war zone," said Roster. "However . . . in an outdoor water sport like rowing you have to be prepared for all types of weather."
“I am very proud of the positive attitude across the entire team. Today's racing demonstrated a lot of grit and with more time I'm sure we will see more strides,” said Boyd. "I want to thank all the parents for cheering for our athletes in the rain to day and for providing support for this program day in and day out this season," Boyd added. "We couldn't do it without them."
Next up is the USRowing Youth National Championships at Nathan-Benderson Park in Sarasota-Bradenton, Florida June 9-11 for the girl's varsity pair.