by MARGOT COCHRAN
Special to Montclair Local
On Sunday, March 31, the Montclair High School rowing team did well as they took to the river for their first regatta of the 2019 spring season. Entering 14 races in the 3rd Manny Flick on the Cooper River in Camden, Montclair took five first-place finishes, five second-place finishes, and one third place.
Those results were good to put Montclair on top of the medal count for the event, besting 72 other schools.
“All events and times were impacted by the wind and the conditions,” said head coach Jeremy Michalitsianos, “but our athletes powered through and we are very proud of their efforts.”
The boys raced first on Sunday. The Mounties’ first challenge was the boys freshman four. Rowed by Angus Van Hamburg, Connor Foley, Seraj deCaires, and Jonah Scher, with cox Ethan McGeever, they came in second just 3.5 seconds behind Haverford and 17 seconds ahead of Radnor in third.
The boys freshman eight competed an hour later and also took second. Crossing the finish line just 3 seconds behind first place Chaminade B were Gus Moore-Manakas, Sam Welsh, Tripp Pitera, Nate Loewy, Noah Frank, Jackson Kim, Aidan Brown, and Reilly O’Sullivan, with cox Oliver Smith.
Ben Rose, Valentin de la Pena, Max Gugig, Victor de Toustain, Curtis DeSmith, Stephen Stamas, Gavin Gammon, and Jack Miller, with cox Claire Higgins-Hart, took second away from Don Bosco while St. Joseph’s Prep earned first in their boys junior varsity eight race.
By midday, the weather had taken a turn for the worse.
Through the driving rain, the boys second eight gave Montclair their first win of the day.
Evan Unruh, Julian Zincani, Charles Abrahams, Manny Angeles, Joe Rosen, Diego Goldfrank, Aidan Duffy, and Maximo Caspedes, with cox Ted Wilson had a tremendous 24-second lead over Moorestown.
Putting an exclamation point at the end of the Mounties’ boys boats was the first-place finish by the varsity eight. Ethan Coplan, Max Pursche, Alex Abuhoff, Ryan Phariss, Theo Weil, Ryan Davis, Lucas Cooperman, and Jake Magaldi, with cox Nora Grabcheski took first from St. Augustine by a 7.75 second margin in stormy conditions.
As the winds continued to kick up whitecaps on the river, the girls teams hit the 1500-meter course.
Montclair’s freshman eight demonstrated their greater might as they edged out the win over Villa Joseph Marie from Pennsylvania. Zoe Larkey, Caroline Schroeder, Meghan Weil, Samara Haynes, Emma Demefack, Jane Dwyer, Ada Starbuck, Ava Summers, with cox Maya Padberg, won with a 2.5-second lead.
The girls’ junior varsity eight — featuring Amelia Snyder, Sophie King, London Abreu, Chelsea Obade, Helena Nintzel, Davida Task, Niamh Cahill, and Lucy Mann, with cox Isabel Beck — took second to Mount Saint Joseph by 3.14 seconds.
In the following race, Orla Duffy, Samantha Bloomstein, Dede Troeller, and Katia Petroff, with cox Maeve Hannan, took second to Mount Saint Joseph for the first flight of the girls lightweight four competition, while in the second flight of the competition, in the Montclair A boat, Efi Mihalis, Estee Goel, Maddie Barnett, and Sydney Schulman, with cox Lizzie Hayes took first place from Manhasset by 3.5 seconds.
With the sun finally starting to warm the day, Kathleen King and Francesca Meyer took third behind Sacred Heart and Agnes Irwin B, respectively, in their girls varsity double race.
And as in the boys’ race, Montclair earned a victory in the final girls’ race of the day, the varsity four challenge.
Coxswain Amelia Cataldi lead rowers Roisin Cahill, Kimmy Troeller, Isabella Hummel, and Kate Mihalis over the finish line with an impressive 31 second advantage against Unionsville.
“It’s fantastic to be outside racing after all the hard work the kids put in during the winter in the school’s erg and weight rooms,” said Michalitsianos. “The team performed well and it was good to give the freshmen their first taste of racing. The regattas will get progressively harder throughout the season.”
The team heads to the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia for the 4th Manny Flick on Sunday, April 7.