Herons win three at Gun­ston In­vi­ta­tional

Record Observer - - Sports - By WIL­LIAM HAUFE bhaufe@star­dem.com

CEN­TRE­VILLE — Gun­ston Day School head row­ing coach Ni­cole Stimp­son likes where her team is at two weeks shy of the state cham­pi­onships.

Af­ter three firsts and five run­nerup fin­ishes at Satur­day’s third an­nual Gun­ston In­vi­ta­tional on the Cor­sica River, it’s easy to un­der­stand why.

“I think we had a re­ally strong show­ing,” Stimp­son said af­ter the fi­nal race on a spec­tac­u­lar spring day on the river. “I think this is a good time to see where we’re at and where we need to tweak and im­prove on as we head into that big race.”

Six days af­ter a 15-sec­ond sea­sonopen­ing vic­tory over St. Paul’s of Bal­ti­more, Gun­ston’s boys’ var­sity four of Ben Jones, Gar­rett Ru­dolfs, Alex Pa­padopou­los, Ethan Boone and coxswain Eli Schut com­pleted the 1,500-meter course in a first­place time of 5 min­utes, 48.2 sec­onds, beat­ing sec­ond-place Mont­gomery Blair by 15 sec­onds.

Gun­ston’s girls’ var­sity eight — Natalie Prochaska, Abby Miller, Sarah Bryant, Natalie Pur­pora, Kylee Nau­mann, Ag­gie Ray­mond, Maddy Romberger, Olivia Sher­man and coxswain Tong Shen — crossed the fin­ish line in 6:14.64, which was 20 sec­onds be­hind first-place Notre Dame Prep.

The Herons then reg­is­tered their sec­ond vic­tory of the day, with the boys’ ju­nior var­sity four of Sam War­gotz, Neel Pa­tel, Chris New­berg, Jack Xu and coxswain Lau­ren Covell (5:29.4) de­feat­ing the Eas­ton­based Free­dom Row­ers (5:45.3).

Four races later, Gun­ston’s boys’ var­sity eight — Covell, Jones, Ru­dolfs, Pa­padopou­los, War­gotz, Boone, Pa­tel, New­berg and Xu — out-du­eled Blair in a two-boat race, fin­ish­ing in 5:35.23 for a 13-sec­ond win, the Herons’ third win of the com­pe­ti­tion.

“I think there is more we can wring out,” Stimp­son said. “I think there’s more in the towel, more speed that we can get out of th­ese guys. The more ex­pe­ri­ence that they’re get­ting through th­ese races is go­ing to help them get faster as well.”

In the day’s tight­est race, Gun- ston just missed a fourth first-place, when the boys’ novice four — Dolan Carella, Sam Zuss­man, Davy Song, Nick Lee and coxswain Samara Pyfrom — was edged at the fin­ish line by Blair, the Blaz­ers fin­ish­ing in 6:06.23, the Herons in 6:06.86.

Gun­ston’s girls’ var­sity four — Sher­man, Romberger, Ray­mond, Nau­man, coxswain Shen — logged a 6:55.8 to fin­ish sec­ond to Notre

Dame Prep (6:51.7). The Herons also picked up sec­ond place fin­ishes in the boys’ and girls’ novice eights.

“Our girls’ var­sity four, I think we’ve got some speed in there,” Stimp­son said. “I think their sprint is go­ing to need some re­fine­ment.”

There was no team cham­pion at yes­ter­day’s meet, and Stimp­son said she hasn’t set­tled on what teams she plans on tak­ing to Wash­ing­ton Col­lege on May 1 for states.

Though not el­i­gi­ble for states, the Free­dom Row­ers had a solid per­for­mance, led by their win­ning girls’ novice four team of Chloe Dixon, Su­sanna Bruce, Mor­gan Craver, Phoebe Fisher and coxswain Se­quoia Chu­pek, which de­feated Blair by 3 sec­onds with a 7:41 flat.

“We could not be more proud of the novice four girls,” Free­dom Row­ers head coach Chris Gill said. “They’ve worked so hard this year. For some of them, this was their very first race ever.

“And for our coxswain (Chu­pek), she’s a se­nior, so this is kind of her pass­ing the torch to the other girls,” Gill added. “So we couldn’t be more proud of how each one of them per­formed to­day, es­pe­cially the novice group. They’re so en­thu­si­as­tic about the sport and I think all of them now are to­tally hooked and look­ing for­ward to the next four years with us. We’ve got a great group.”

The Free­dom Row­ers boys’ ju­nior var­sity four placed sec­ond to Gun­ston in 5:45.3. The girls’ ju­nior var­sity four was sec­ond in its heat, fin­ish­ing with a 6:56.77.

Fol­low me on Twit­ter @Bil­l_Haufe. Email me at bhaufe@star­dem.com

PHOTO BY WIL­LIAM HAUFE

Gun­ston coxswain Lau­ren Covell, far left, yells en­cour­age to the Herons’ boys’ var­sity eight of Ben Jones, Gar­rett Ru­dolfs, Alex Pa­padopou­los, Sam War­gotz, Ethan Boone, Neel Pa­tel, Chris New­berg and Jack Xu dur­ing their vic­tory at Satur­day’s Gun­ston In­vi­ta­tional.

PHOTO BY WIL­LIAM HAUFE

From left, Free­dom Row­ers Chloe Dixon, Su­sanna Bruce, Mor­gan Craver and Phoebe Fisher won the girls’ noice four at Satur­day’s Gun­ston In­vi­ta­tional. Not pictured is coxswain Se­quoia Chu­pek.

PHOTO BY AY­MAN ALAM

A group of Saints Peter and Paul and Gun­ston play­ers vie for a draw con­trol dur­ing Wed­nes­day’s game in Eas­ton.

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