BY MARGOT COCHRAN
for Montclair Local
Recovered from the disappointment felt when the Garden State Championships was cancelled due to dangerously high winds, the Montclair High School rowing team proved they were ready to compete at the City Championships in Philadelphia this past weekend.
Since States was a qualifier for each boat to earn entry in Nationals, the team was now required to add the City Championships to their regatta calendar. They used to compete in this regatta but dropped it when it grew to a two-day event.
Saturday was a beautifully warm day for the first day of the regatta and all of the time trials. Twelve of Montclair’s fourteen entries advanced. For most that meant straight on through to finals but for the girls junior varsity and varsity fours, with the large field of over twenty competitors (23 and 25 respectively), they would compete again in a semi-final before both advanced to the finals.
Semi-finals and finals were held on Sunday, May 8th. Unfortunately for the athletes and their spectators, the skies were unkind and it rained all day long. This dampened the day but not the results for the Mounties.
The team’s first medals were taken at 10:14 AM in their first final of the day, the boys freshman/novice double. Freshmen Alex Rougebec and Noam Levi took silver behind Haverford and ahead of Malvern Prep.
Also earning silver was the boys freshman eight. Rowed by Gus Moore-Manakas, Sam Welsh, Tripp Pitera, Nate Loewy, Noah Frank, Rhys Williams, Aidan Brown, and Lucas Young, and coxed by Oliver Smith, the Mounties took second to St. Joseph’s Prep A and ahead of third place Seton Hall Prep.
The girls junior varsity four was the next to compete for Montclair. Sophomores Orla Duffy, Samantha Bloomstein, Dede Troeller, and novice rower Katia Petroff, with cox Maeve Hannan, took third behind Mount Saint Joseph and Merion Mercy Academy.
Bronze would also be the medals taken home by the girls junior varsity eight. Rowed by Amelia Snyder, Sophie King, London Abreu, Chelsea Obade, Helena Nintzel, Davida Task, Niamh Cahill, and Lucy Mann, with cox Isabel Beck, the Mounties came in third behind first place Ocean City and second place Mount Sant Joseph.
At 2:40 PM, the Mounties won their first gold medals when Efi Mihalis, Estee Goel, Maddie Barnett, and Sydney Schulman, with cox Lizzie Hayes, crossed the finish line with a 2.5 second lead over Mount Saint Joseph A and 11.10 seconds ahead of third place Absegami for the girls lightweight four competition.
Jake Magaldi, Aidan Duffy, Maximo Cespedes, Charles Abrahams, Diego Goldfrank, Joe Rosen, Max Pursche, and Evan Unruh, coxed by Ted Wilson, were next on the awards dock for Montclair. Wilson and the oarsmen won gold with their time of 4:19.69 on the Schuylkill River’s 1500-meter course. LaSalle crossed the finish line at 4:24.25 and Ocean City took bronze at 4:29.58.
After winning their semi-final in the morning, Montclair’s girls varsity four took the lead from the start and held it for the whole race. Their first place finish won them gold medals and The Michael L. Brown Cup. Roisin Cahill, Kimmy Troeller, Isabella Hummel, and Kate Mihalis, with cox Amelia Cataldi, took gold away from Holy Spirit and Merion Mercy Academy took third.
“It’s been great to return to City Championships after an absence of a few years,” said lead coach Lorna Rundle. “and come away with some trophy’s. I’m very proud of my girls for winning both of the women’s varsity four events.”
In the last race of the day, the competition could not have been closer. As reported by the race announcer, the lead went back and forth between Montclair and St. Joseph’s Prep from start to finish. In the end, Theo Weil, Ryan Phariss, Alex Abuhoff, Manny Angeles, Ethan Coplan, Julian Zincani, Lucas Cooperman, and Ryan Davis, with cox Nora Grabcheski, took silver with Montclair’s bow ball crossing just .46 seconds behind St. Joes. LaSalle reached the line 3.90 seconds later for bronze.
Collectively Montclair had the third highest medal count and team points, behind first place Mount Saint Joseph Academy and second place St. Joseph’s Preparatory School.
“We are proud of the team,” said head coach Jeremy Michalitsianos. “We are motivated and looking forward to competing at Stotesbury.”
The team’s next regatta is May 17th and 18th back on the Schuylkill for the Stotesbury Cup Regatta, which is the largest high school regatta in the world.