While the spring weather hasn’t cooperated very well, the Huntington High School crew team has kept its optimism running high.
The Blue Devils have had to contend with strong winds and lower than average temperatures, but despite setbacks here and there, Huntington is enjoying one of its best seasons in years.
“I’ve been part of the program for four years now and I can say that this season has been one of my favorites,” senior Molly Warren said. “The team stuck together even with several changes in coaching and this year our coaches are extremely motivating. The novice rowers and returning rowers are pushing as hard as we can at every regatta. I love seeing my teammates striving to achieve greatness and continuing this program that not many schools have.”
The Blue Devils are coached by Avery Cohen and Anika Selle Giehl with assistance from Ryan Boone. “At the first race, after only being on the water for four days, the varsity girls four took first place at the Knox School race,” Ms. Selle Giehl said. “The following day at the Row for Autism race they placed well, two. The novice and JV athletes were all pulling hard and strong and have been improving a lot over the last few weeks. It has been such an honor to watch these athletes come to practice put on their life jackets and go out and push, no matter how much their blisters are hurting or how sore they were from the workout the day before.”
At last weekend’s Long Island championships, inclement weather led to the cancellation of many races, however the Blue Devil girls’ varsity and junior varsity squads managed to race through the wind and high waves to place in the middle of the field.
Huntington will compete in the state championships in Saratoga Springs on Saturday. Seniors Torre Palmer and Molly Warren will be rowing in a double and in a “senior four” along with junior Francine Nastasi, sophomore Kelly Warren and coxswain Emma Farrell.
“Emma just started a few weeks ago with crew and she is born to be a coxswain,” Ms. Selle Giehl said. “Smart, adventurous and always making the right call, she is also one who pushes herself in the workout room. You would never guess she just started.”
Freshman Peyton Kalb will be rowing in a novice event at the states and Olivia Genova, Meagan-Elise Malone, Grace McKenna and Nancy Glascock will be rowing in a junior four and a quad and maybe even in a double.
Huntington has made steady improvement on the water in recent weeks. “The novice boys all just started rowing this spring with their first day on the water in the second week of April,” Ms. Selle Giehl said. “They are such a tight group of boys.”
The group includes senior Billy Garfinkel, sophomore Cameron Mills, freshmen Tyler Rund and John O’Brien Billy and freshman coxswain Beanna Cumella. “These boys really want to become the best rowers,” Ms. Selle Giehl said. “They always come to practice and ask what they can do to be a better rower.”
The 2017 roster includes freshmen Beanna Cumella, Josefina Fasolino, Peyton Kalb, Molly Kessler, Madelyn Kye, Margaret Lalor, Madison Lange, John O’Brien and Tyler Rund; sophomores Shannon Anderson, Christie Baade, Anna Crockett, Emma Farrell, Olivia Genova, Meagan-Elise Malone, Annabella Matheus, Grace McKenna, Cameron Mills and Kelly Warren; juniors Georgia English, Nancy Glascock, Isabella McGinniss and Francine Nastasi; seniors Alexandra Ardell, William Garfinkel, Ashleigh Katigbak, Torre Palmer and Molly Warren.
As the season heads toward the finish line, the Blue Devils are confident the program is heading in the right direction. “We have so many other athletes that should be mentioned, but the most important thing about this team is that they are truly a team,” Ms. Selle Giehl said. “They help each other; they cheer for each other. It’s not often that a team gets along so well. If there is something like a team award it belongs to this team.”
With 23 underclassmen eligible to return next year, the Blue Devils appear well-positioned to achieve future success. The team’s five seniors will be sorely missed, but the example they set this season, the knowledge they shared and the inspiration they provided is sure to pay many dividends during coming campaigns on the water.
“It wouldn’t be easy to say who is the most valuable or most improved on this team, because in a sport were the athletes in the same boat have to follow each other, nobody can have an ego and nobody can think ‘I am so much better’ because better they can only be that together,” Ms. Selle Giehl said.