Written by Steve Panzik, Editorial@Antonnews.com Thursday, 13 June 2013 00:00
In only its third season, Port Rowing has grown from an exciting start up to a Long Island powerhouse, to a state champion, and now to a top national contender. Three boats qualified from New York State championships to represent Port Rowing at the largest high school Regatta in the world, The Stotesbury Cup, in Philadelphia. There were over 150 schools from America and Canada at the event, and Port Rowing came right out of the gate on fire. The team advanced all three boats into the second round of top 18. In the second round the boats fell just shy of the top 6 final by mere seconds. In the end, the Boys Freshman 8 took 12th overall, and the girl’s lightweight four and men’s junior eight took 7th overall. In the Adaptive category, Michael and Molly took home the title with a demanding victory in the double. It was a great achievement from the pair that just started rowing together less than a year ago to win the Stotesbury Cup.
This regatta acted as the seeding for the Scholastic National Championships in Camden, New Jersey the following weekend, that pitted crews from across the country for the top spot. The freshmen 8 drew a tough first round and rowed their fastest race of the season only to come up 1.5 seconds out of the next round for an overall place of 14th in the country. The girl’s lightweight four cruised into the second round and guaranteed a top 12 finish with a strong first heat. In the second round, they fought the entire way down through the wind and chop to just miss the National finals, finishing 10th in the country. The junior boys had a dramatic come from behind victory to qualify for the second round. In the second round the crowd saw the race of the day with 4 boats crossing the line within 1 second of each other. Unfortunately the boys were on the outside missing 1st by a second, 2nd by .5 seconds, and third by .05 seconds. They finished the regatta with a 7th overall ranking.
At the same time that these regattas were taking place, some of the team was participating in the North East Regional Championships in Lowell, Massachusetts. The team had a strong performance, sending 7 boats to the second day of races. The top finisher for the girls was the Varsity 8 that took 5th place. This is the highest finish in the NE Regionals the Varsity eight has ever taken, and the girls had an amazing race. The boy’s four took a silver medal with a strong performance on the weekend.
The entire team represented the community well at the elite level of racing. It was only three years ago these kids saw what a racing shell was for the first time. The growth and performance is amazing, and the team could not have gotten there without the parental and community support. As the team grows in size and speed every season, the girls and boys have set very lofty standards for next year’s program. Sadly the program says good-bye to a great group of seniors who will be rowing at the next level: Linsay Heyman (Southern Methodist University), Maggie Nelson (Clemson University), Erin Condon (Hobart and Williams Smith College), Melissa Iannucci (Fairfield University), Ashley Iannucci (Fairfield University), and John Meyer (New York University).