On the Schuylkill last Saturday, the women’s rowing team was again highlighted by one group in particular – the novices.
The Novice 8 continued its winning ways on Saturday as the rowers raced in a head-to-head race against Bucknell and Duquenese.
Despite the windy the conditions in the morning session with Bucknell, the Novice 8 “B” boat led by coxswain Nicole Barth included Emily Meissner (stroke), Kathleen Mascitelli (seat-7), Gabriella Kelly (seat-6), Lavia Moran (seat-5), Olivia Aizen (seat-4), Samantha Sederstand (seat-3), Sarah Asman (seat-2) and Lauren Thamel (bow), out-rowed Bucknell in a time of 7:29.
The Novice 8 “A” boat led by coxswain Aubrie Foden, Kayla Dorney (stroke), Rachael Braccia (seat-7), Emily Mehler (seat-6), Sydney Garofolo (seat-5), Jenna Bahel (seat-4), Tarvn Beaver (seat-3), Imani Johnson (seat-2) and Kaitlin Grisanti (bow) finished six hundredth of a second behind Bucknell in a time of 7:01.
Although the Novice 8 “A” boat had to settle for second in a close finish, coach Rebecca Grybowski said it will benefit the team in the long run.
“I thought that was an awesome race for them because it gives them great racing experience,” Grybowski said. “To be in a race where you are wire-to-wire with a crew right next to you is only going to make us get better and get prepared for what’s coming up because the season only continues to get faster [and] competition continues to pick up speed.”
Throughout the rest of the morning the team continued to face Bucknell on the Schuylkill. Temple’s Varsity 4 “A” boat, which consist of Eleanor Oken (coxswain), Blair Bradley (stroke), Gina Inverso (seat-3), Devin Dakes (seat-2), and Kathy Blostion (bow) secured a win with a time of 7:41 seconds, after Bucknell’s Varsity 4 had steering difficulties when its boat sustained damages near the 1,000 meter mark of the race.
The wind became a factor as the other varsity boats raced on the water.
Varsity 4 “B” boat was comprised of Julia Wolanski (coxswain) Kelly Hill (stroke), Nicole Stark (seat-3). Eileen Smith (seat-2) and Monique Howard (bow) rowed to a third place finish with a time of 8:35 seconds whent they rowed head-to-head against two Bucknell’s teams, including Bucknell’s lightweight boat.
Even though races got faster, the results were the same as Temple’s Varisty 8 boat finished in third place with a time of 7:01 when the Owls raced against Bucknell’s lightweight and heavyweight boats. The boat was comprised of Kelsey Franks (coxswain), Victoria Joye (stroke), Jackie Lees (seat-7), Megan Boyer (seat-6), Kara Carson (seat-5), Allison Watkins (seat-4), Callista DiGuardia (seat-3), Moira Meekes (seat-2) and Lauren Kidd (bow).
Likewise, Bucknell Varsity 8 “B” boat out raced Temple to a time of 6:57. The Owls’ boat included Erin Matz (coxswain), Lea Millio (stroke), Emily Opperman (seat-7), Stephanie Barber (seat-6), Sarah Barber (seat-5), Annie Buckley (seat-4), Emily Leyland (seat-3), Grace Kroner (seat-2) and Susan O’Neil Coyne (bow).
“It was a really tough race” Leyland said. “The conditions were really windy and the water was really choppy, which affect the boat and us being together so we definitely weren’t as prepared as we could have been. “
In the afternoon session, the Owls rebounded as Temple’s Novice 4 and Varsity 4 “B” swept Duquesne in the Varsity 4 category with times of 8:16 seconds and 8:21, respectively. In a head-to-head race with Duquesne’s Varsity 4 “A” boat, the Owls rowed to a first place finish in a time of 7:38.
Both Varsity 8 boats fell to a second place finish as Duquesne took first in both races. In the Varsity 8 “A” boat, the Owls finished behind the Dukes in a time of 6:52. Temple’s Novice 8 and Varsity 8 “B” competed against Duquesne in the second Varsity 6 race, where the Dukes were out-raced the Owls to finish in a time of 7:02.
“We really rallied for the second race instead of letting our poor performance from the first race get to us,” Leyland said. “We made a lot of improvements in the second race.”
“We used the afternoon as a chance to really stay internal, rowing our race and I thought it was a much cleaner, technical row and a much more aggressive the second time around,” Grzybowski said.
The Owls will compete again on Saturday at the Knecht Cup in Princeton, N.J.
Danielle Nelson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter@Dan_Nels.