The Montclair High School girls varsity eight rowing team — from left, Sage Santora, Samara Haynes, Emma Demefack, Zoe Larkey, Carly Knutzen, Bella Moreno, Alex Gawler, Madeleine Young and Eleanor Pitera — placed first among public schools and set a school record at the Head of the Charles Regatta last weekend. (COURTESY SARAH SPAGNOLA YOUNG)

By ED KENSIK
For Montclair Local

The Montclair High School rowing team brought home some very good marks and times from the Head of the Charles Regatta in Boston last weekend.

The boys and girls varsity eights both finished third of all the high schools. They both took home first in races against public schools.

“The top youth rowing teams in the country took part, with not only schools but also rowing clubs as well,” said MHS head coach Jeremy Michalitsianos. “The clubs can have an advantage over schools, especially a public school like Montclair, as they can easily recruit athletes.”

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It was the girls eights that highlighted the results, as they broke the school record (based on placement) for their performances at the Charles Regatta with a time of 18.17.172 and were the top team of the public schools, third of all high schools, and 18th out of all 76 boats that competed in Boston. 

Michalitsianos said that the girls eight is hitting its stride this season.

“We felt going into it they were capable, but hadn’t shown the form capable of producing it so far this fall,” he said. “This was partly due to starting the training so late, as other programs had started earlier, so our early fall results weren’t quite where we wanted them to be. On paper we knew we had some seniors with a lot of talent and some younger athletes that were improving, but weren’t sure they could produce a solid result yet.”

In addition, the Montclair junior varsity four with coxswain competed against varsity and better boats and finished ahead of more than a dozen crews at the regatta.

The Head of the Charles Regatta returned for the 56th time after a year off because of the pandemic. It included 10,000 rowers in 1,900 boats from not only high schools, but also clubs and colleges.

The results added to the collection of quality performances this season, including titles at the Stotesbury, Scholastic Rowing Association of America and Philadelphia City regattas.

Besides the Montclair High School rowers at the Charles Regatta, Mounties alums are rowing for several colleges, including Harvard, Brown, Princeton, Penn, Carnegie Mellon, Michigan and Northeastern.

Montclair rowing also pulled in eight medals earlier this fall, as the group helped host the Overpeck Fall Classic in Leonia.

All of this came after the team didn’t start training until Sept. 9 and then was further hurt by Ida with flooding and damage of equipment. “Given the short space of time, the athletes worked incredibly hard to get the results they achieved this weekend,” Michalitsianos said. “I couldn’t be prouder of how hard they have trained.” 

The Montclair rowing team still has work to do, with two more meets on the fall schedule, Oct. 31 at the Head of the Schuylkill Regatta in Philadelphia and at the Head of the Overpeck Regatta on Nov. 13. 

The following are the finishers at the Charles Regatta last weekend for Montclair High School.

Boys varsity eight with coxswain placed 14th out of all 80 entries (15.41.449), third of all school entries and first in public schools.

  •  Alex Stamas, coxswain
  •  Gus Moore Manakas
  •  Colin Phariss
  •  Zach Troeller
  •  Nate Loewy
  •  George Harb
  •  Sam Welch
  •  Aidan Brown
  •  Lucas Young

Girls varsity eight with coxswain placed 18th out of 76 overall (18.17.172, MHS team record), third school overall, first public school.

  •  Carly Knutzen, coxswain
  •  Zoe Larkey
  •  Bella Moreno
  •  Emma Demefack
  •  Samara Haynes
  •  Madeleine Young
  •  Eleanor Pitera
  •  Alex Gawler
  •  Sage Santora

Girls junior varsity four with coxswain competed against top varsity boats.  

  •  Maxine Guerra, coxswain
  •  Lillian Harb
  •  Mia Gurtman
  •  Antonia Greer
  •  Eliza Bender