On Saturday, April 29, the Nutley Raider Crew Team headed to Camden County for the Rowing State Championships held on the Cooper River.
Coach Smyth’s varsity girls took advantage of their high seeding as both the junior and lightweight fours took home bronze medals. The Junior 4, coxswain Danielle Swan, stroke seat Alaina Feaster, 3 seat Barbara Benda, 2 seat Daniella LaRosa, and bow Mackenzie Moraski, won their opening heat defeating crews from North Arlington, Doane Academy, Kearny and Mainland. In the final, Egg Harbor was able to establish an early lead, which they held onto start to finish to take the gold. Nutley rowed in second place until the very last three strokes when Bishop Eustace just inched past them for the silver, leaving Nutley in third position for the bronze medal.
The lightweight four has also been extremely consistent rowing the same line up with much success. The lightweight crew features a pair of sisters sharing time in the coxswain seat, Marissa and Victoria Daly, two seniors who have been tremendous both in their coxswain skill and cooperation with each other. The crew consists of junior Jennifer Ariola and the three team captains: two seat Sara Araujo, three seat, senior, Jazzy Delamerced, and stroke seat, Meghan Mackle. The lightweights raced in lane four, usually a desired position, but on a windy day like last Saturday, sometimes the outside lanes on the shore can prove to be an advantage because they are more sheltered from the wind. Kearny, in lane six, was able to capitalize on flatter water and won the race. However, Nutley had a solid race, pushing favored Absegami all the way, closing the gap between the two crews significantly from the previous week. Absegami earned the silver and Nutley the bronze, but the Raider lightweights showed that they are capable of catching Kearny and Absegami next time they face each other.
By placing third in State Championships, Smyth’s crews each qualified for the Scholastic Rowing Association of America National Championships, earning automatic invitations to the regatta.
Coach McIntyre’s varsity lightweights had a strong performance as well, as the boy’s crew of coxswain Charlie Scorsone, stroke seat Matt Scorsone, three seat Max Wechter, two seat Andrew Irwin, and bow Owen Morris improved upon their lane five seeding to finish fourth in the final, ahead of crews from powerhouses St. Augustine and Absegami. The race was won by Christian Brother’s Academy with Atlantic City second and Egg Harbor third. While the boys were disappointed that they just missed the medal stand, and the automatic entry into nationals, Coach McIntyre understands that their race was solid. “A fourth place at State Championships is quality finish”, and when entries for Nationals open up and expand beyond the automatic bids in two weeks, the Raiders will be sitting as a top consideration for entry into nationals and should receive an invitation.
Also of note, Coach Ford took full advantage of her squad’s smaller athletes and exercised some strategy by moving her girls out of the junior 8 event and into the lightweight 8 event, where the girls would be more equally matched physically. The strategy paid off. With only a handful of lightweight 8s entered, Nutley was able to secure a third automatic bid to SRAA National Championships. Coach Ford and Novice Coach Scarpelli will now have 3 ½ weeks to combine their squads and put together the best possible lightweight 8 to go compete in Nationals Memorial Day weekend.