Girls rowing surprises at Head of the Charles

Adam Sheffield, Sports Editor

At the 51st annual Head of the Charles Regatta in Cambridge, Massachusetts, New Trier placed eighth in the women’s youth eights, and eighteenth in the men’s youth eights.

The Head of Charles is the largest regatta in the world, with thousands of rowers in attendance and around 400,000 spectators. The regatta spans two days, and features teams from around the country. People from all age groups participate in the regatta, including youth, collegiate, and masters.

“It was awesome to come out to Boston and test our speed against the top crew around the world,” said senior Brendan Gridley.

Each race began at Boston University’s DeWolfe Boathouse and finished near Eliot Bridge which is right by Northeastern University’s Henderson Boathouse. The course itself is known for being tricky to navigate, and features six bridges that competitors go row beneath.

The Trev’s men’s boat was manned by seniors Daniel Dreyfus, Rourke Pattullo, Spencer James, John Dolan, Brendan Gridley, and Hunter Hall, as well as juniors Myles Knight, David Theiss, and sophomore Galen Quinn. Spares Ian Fargo and David Tigerman also attended the Charles in case someone got injured. This year, New Trier finished eighteenth, five spots lower than they finished in 2014.

“There were a lot of new, great international crews this year that made the race so competitive,” New Trier men’s head coach Nate Kelp-Lenane said. “It was a little discouraging, but the guys should be very proud with how they did.”

For the boys, the gameplan was to continue to increase speed as they went along the race, a strategy that is easier said than done.

We rowed the fastest race that we could. It always could’ve gone a little faster and smoother, but we raced hard and we’re content with our race,” said Gridley.  “We’ve been working towards this regatta all season and we’re glad we put the best race down that we could.”

“We raced very hard through the middle and had a great push towards the end of the race,” Kelp-Lenane said. “We had a better time than last year by about 17-18 seconds.”

The girls, who finished 27th a year ago, came away with an eighth place finish this year. New Trier’s team was made up of seniors Julia Bergquist, Bella Miller, Katie Schretter, and Grace Joyce, as well as juniors Mata Stilp, Maddie Cottingham, Nicki Bukovac, Lauren Johnson, and Carolyne Newman. Reserves Grace Cucco and Emily Lewis also made the trip out.

“We are ecstatic about our finish. We trained so hard for it and it payed off,” senior Captain Bella Miller said. “It’s a huge honor to be rowing in such a prestigious regatta like this. It seems like all of Boston is decorated and set up for the Charles. You’re also at the same regatta as some of the best rowers in the world, which is cool to see.”

The weather at Head of Charles was less than favorable, with temperatures in the high thirties and low forties. At one point, even a light dusting of snow occurred.

“The conditions were rough. It was freezing and really windy at some points, which made the race a lot harder,” Miller said.

Many colleges also made the trip out to compete in the races. With national signing day approaching, various New Trier rowers are beginning to commit. Miller will attend Duke University, while Spencer James will go to Columbia University, and Katie Schretter will attend Cornell University.