A banner year for rowing
The Belmont Hill School’s crew team has a pair of unbeaten boats, its first and second fours, this season. Under the direction of Chris Richards, who rowed for Harvard, the independent school’s varsity four captured the New England Interscholastic Rowing Championship last month on Lake Quinsigamond in Worcester.
Next up is the US Rowing Youth Nationals that start Friday in Oak Ridge, Tenn., followed by the Elizabeth Challenge Cup at the Royal Henley Regatta later this month in England.
Belmont Hill will not be alone.
Rowers from Brookline High, and the Wayland/Weston and Bromfield/Acton-Boxborough co-op squads will also participate at the youth nationals, held on Melton Hill Lake in Tennessee, while the Groton School also has crews heading to Henley.
Belmont Hill will compete in the men's fours in Tennessee, and the men's eights at Royal Henley. The fours crew consists of the coach's son, Alexander, Daniel Kraft of Lincoln, Adam Maleh of Dover, Alexander Bailey of Watertown, and coxswain Pranay Bose of Lexington.
“Alexander has really come along as an oarsman, Pranay is a competitive and knowledgeable captain, Adam is a tremendous workman, Daniel is a focused and great racer, and Alexander Bailey is as tough as a bear,’’ said Richards, whose fours boats have won four gold medals in six tries at nationals.
The second fours boat — Henry Ogilvy of Belmont, John Cresap of Medfield, Weston resident Ty Gill, and Ben Jones of Needham, along with coxswain Cole Durbin of Newton — will complete the eights boat for Belmont Hill.
“They made each other successful because our second boat was always pushing our first boat, so practices were always competitive,’’ said Richards. “When you have talented, competitive guys who love to race, that’s a good combination.’’
Belmont Hill’s third varsity four, including coxswain Tucker Rhodes of Needham, and Alex Potter and Ian , both of Weston, will also travel to Henley.
Brookline, Wayland/Weston and Bromfield/Acton-Boxborough earned their trip to nationals by finishing third or better at US Rowing's Northeast Junior District Championships, held May 19-20 on Lake Quinsigamond.
Brookline, coached by former Boston University rower Katy Ruderman, will compete in the men's lightweight eight thanks to its second-place finish at regionals. The boat also won the Massachusetts Public School Rowing Association championship held Sunday on the Merrimack River in Lowell.
Brookline's boat is guided by coxswain Max Condon, and powered by Jordi Cabanas, Cam Chiasson, Adam Rintell, twin brothers and team captains Dan and Alex Meyer, Eden Zik, Jake Wolf-Sorokin, and Cody Tipton. The high school will also have Jack Ruske and Nigel Harriman racing pairs at nationals.
“Alex and Dan have been incredible leaders,’’ said Ruderman, a Brookline High grad who also rowed for the school. “And they've helped us become competitive at the state and national level.”
Boris Kusturic, head coach at the Cambridge Boat Club and a Watertown resident, guided the Wayland-Weston girls’ lightweight eight to a first-place finish at regionals and at invitational regattas in Lowell and in Saratoga, N.Y., this spring.
Coxswain Caroline Ayanian and crewmates Elena Drews, Sophia Haley, Gabriela Purman, Rebecca Harris, Madison Kiefer, Hannah Brigham, Emma Conroy, and Rachel Yan are Tennessee-bound.
“Elana is our only senior,” said Kusturic. “And although we’re a young boat, we've constantly gained speed throughout the spring.”
The Wayland-Weston boys’ fours, after placing third at regionals, will send coxswain Carly Skehan, Jon Heinlein, Jason Nazarian, Jakub Buczek, and Ian Delaney to nationals under the guidance of coach Brian DeDominici.
Bromfield/Acton-Boxborough combines students from the Bromfield School in Harvard and Acton-Boxborough Regional High, and works out on Bare Hill Pond in Harvard. The parent-funded collaboration is directed by a former Boston University and US Olympic pairs coach, Holly Hatton.
“We have 18 girls on the varsity and 14 of them are going to nationals,” said Hatton. “Overall, 19 of our rowers are going, so this is pretty exciting for all of us.”
Bromfield/Acton-Boxborough has qualified in men's and women's youth fours and the women's youth eight.
“We had a recent fund-raiser that enabled us to buy a couple of new boats and at the end of the day, my reward is that I'm helping young rowers live a dream,” said Hatton.
Three of her varsity rowers, Caroline Hart, Olivia MacLean and Sam Genuvius, all of Harvard, have been invited to national team camps.
Groton, third at the New England championship on May 26 behind Deerfield Academy and Belmont Hill, is combining two fours teams and will compete for the Princess Elizabeth Cup for the first time since 2002.
It will also enter a fours boat at Henley in the Prince Albert Cup competition, and two women's boats.
Groton's varsity eight, coached by Bob Madden — who formerly rowed and coached at Philadelphia's Vesper Boat Club — includes Jamie Billings of Lincoln and Ray Dunn of Harvard. Willy Anderson of Groton will row with the fours. Madden is assisted by Steve Timpany of Medway.
“Our bronze at the NEIRA was our first medal in that event in five years,’’ said Madden. “And our second four earned a silver medal. It was the best Groton finish in 10 years.”
Groton's undefeated NEIRA champion girls’ team is also sending a contingent to England for both the Henley Women's Regatta and the subsequent Henley Royal Regatta in fours with coxswain and quadruple scull.
Groton resident Sarah Black will compete in the fours at the Henley Women's Regatta, while Olivia Bono of Dover will row at both competitions in the scull.
“Because the HRR has included a high school girls event for the first time ever, we decided to enter the quadruple scull event with members of our first and second boats,” said Groton girls’ head coach Andy Anderson, whose teams’ sweep of the NEIRA girls’ fours was last accomplished by Dedham’s Noble & Greenough School in 1996.
Marvin Pave can be reached at email@example.com.