Penn AC Dominates Men’s Team Boats at Club Nationals

by: Cara Stawicki

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Penn AC at Club National ChampionshipsPenn AC dominated the podium in the men’s elite/senior double sculls and elite/senior quadruple sculls at the 2017 USRowing Club National Championships. The team set the tone in the quads finishing one-two on the first day of finals at Harsha Lake. It followed suit in the doubles, finishing one-two and three to solidify its strength in the team boat events.

Overall, athletes from Penn AC’s High Performance Group, Under 23 Team and Junior Gold Program combined forces to earn 13 medals including seven gold for a solid mid-season showing.

On Friday, the crew of Charles Anderson, Chris Shirley, Nathan Lado and James Garay took first in the men’s quad in a time of 6:00.137. Crossing the line in second was Chris Reich, Theo Pritz, Thaddeus Babiec and Erick Winstead in 6:04.017. The New York Athletic Club finished third in 6:05.657, with Potomac, Queen City and OKC’s High Performance Center rounding out the top six.

On Sunday, on the heels of a day to regroup, the two men’s quads went to work in the doubles. Shirley and Garay grabbed the win in 6:28.213; Lado and Anderson took second in 6:30.096. Longtime racing partners David Judah and Nick Goode (Vesper Boat Club) crossed the line in third in 6:36.151, with Babiec and Reich finishing fifth in 6:50.763.

“We were please with the results,” said Garay. “The elite quad and double finals were good pieces. Nate and Chuck put a big spot on us in the double earlier in the year, and we were excited to line-up with them because we felt like we had a lot to prove.”

“The quad hadn’t spent a whole lot of time together,” he continued. “It was nice to see that we could handle being down off the start, stay composed and still take care of business.”

“I couldn’t be happier about my performance in the double,” said Shirley. “James and I aren’t quite sure how it works, but it does. When he says it’s time to go… well, that’s exactly what we do.”

Before earning bragging rights in the men’s elite/senior double and quad, Shirley and Garay grabbed the title in the men’s intermediate double as well. Under-23 athletes Mark Couwenhoven and A. Williams took fourth in the event, well ahead of crews from Steel City and Foundry rowing clubs.

Penn AC’s lightweight men found success in the double sculls as well, and also left a mark in the intermediate and elite/senior single events. On Friday, Mike Orzolek teamed up with Undine Barge Club’s F. Berger to win the men’s elite/senior lightweight double in 6:42.563. Under-23 athletes, Jasper Liu, Couwenhoven and Maxwell Amsterdam then went first, third and fifth in the men’s intermediate lightweight single. Liu’s winning time was 7:11.612.

On Sunday, Liu backed up the win with a solid second-place finish in the men’s elite/senior lightweight single in a time of 7:16.991. Orzolek finished fourth in a time of 7:19.942.

“It’s good to see that our work in team boats is paying off,” said Winstead, captain of the High Performance Group. “We expect these results as a group. They help us build confidence that we can capitalize on going forward.”

“The High Performance Group got off to a rocky start [at Club Nationals],” he continued, “but I’m proud of how we responded. We ended the week on a high note in multiple events. I also noticed some solid performances from our U23 group and juniors. The U23 guys have been practicing alongside the HPG all summer, and I think that helped them raise their level going into Club Nats. We will strive to have a more dominant presence across the board next year.”

On the women’s side, High Performance Group athlete Mary Mosier grabbed the win in the elite/senior lightweight single in 8:15.486. Mosier then finished fourth in the intermediate lightweight single in a large field of 33 scullers.

“This was not only my first win in a senior event at Club Nationals but also my first win ever in the single!” said Mosier. “It obviously always feels great to come out with a win, but this was the first time I got to experience doing it on my own.”

“For me, this summer has very much been focused on the single,” Mosier continued. “I’ve been working on my weaknesses and trying to improve where needed. Club Nationals was a chance to show what I’ve been working on. I plan to continue to build on that into next year.”

The lightweight women in the Junior Gold Program earned two top-six finishes as well. The crew of Haleigh Prindle, Maddie Maier, Betty Hosler, Crystal Navellier and Ashley Kim (coxswain) finished first in the intermediate lightweight four in 7:39.081. Teammates Anastasia Ray, Monica Rodriguez, Sarah Flower, Izzy Begley and Lauren Pollock (coxswain) finished fourth in the event in 7:57.309.

Other Junior Gold crews that earned spots in the A Finals were the men’s U19 four and women’s U17 eight. The men’s four of Mark Rotering, Parker Lough, Lucian Polk, Kevin Mead and William Laclerc (coxswain) worked its way through heats and semifinals, finishing sixth in a field of 48! The women’s U17 eight also picked up a sixth place finish. The crew included Hosler, Begley, Gianna Jarmain, Kate Picray, Lily Mersky, Kelly FitzSimons, Megan Guido, Olivia Coffey and Christina Labella (coxswain).

Compete results from the week can be found HERE.

Up next: Athletes from Penn AC’s High Performance Group and Under 23 Team will compete in Royal Canadian Henley, Aug. 6-13 in St. Catherine’s, Ontario.

Written by Cara Stawicki, carastawicki@gmail.com.

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