Crossley dominates 75th CSSRA regatta
Crossley’s Shane Irvine, Preston Darling, Bassil DiLorenzo, Chris Irvine, Matt Jinks, Matthew Johnston, Owen Nicholls, Alessio Perco, Aidan Smouter won the final race of the day, the senior men’s eight and Calder Cleland Trophy at the 75th Canadian Secondary Schools Rowing Association Regatta Sunday on Henley Island. Photo by: BILL POTRECZ
The Canadian Secondary Schools Rowing Association Regatta returned to the water for the first time in two years this weekend on Henley Island.
The 75th edition of the regatta was the first to be held since 2019 due to the COVID pandemic and wrapped up with 42 finals Sunday.
“We are thrilled,” Rowing Canada president Carol Purcer said. “We’re thrilled for the turnout, we’re thrilled with the response.
“We’re overjoyed and the weather cooperated.”
The E.L. Crossley Cyclone dominated the regatta winning nine gold medals, two silver and one bronze.
No efficiency trophies were awarded this year.
The Crossley crew of Avery Coles, Emmerson Darling, Sarah Graham, Juliette Freure and Natalie Heaslip earned gold in the first race of the day, the junior women 59kg coxed quad.
Nine races later, Stasia Bittman, Sarah Schaefer, Sophia McQueen and Ella Woodcock of Notre Dame won the senior women’s quad for the second local gold.
Mahmoud Radwan and Fernando Vaca captured Ridley’s first gold of the day in the senior men’s 72kg double after earlier earning a bronze in the senior men’s quad.
“It’s awesome,” Vaca said. “The last time I raced was three years ago and we won the junior eight. I was expecting to not even win, just to get a medal. After the quad, I would have been happy just to get a medal but we came through and took the gold.”
Vaca said it was all about teamwork.
“I think our chemistry works,” he said. “We match together personalities and that’s a big part in a double. If the double doesn’t work with each other, not even in rowing but in personality, it doesn’t work.”
Owen Bartel of Eden earned a gold in the senior men’s single, following in the footsteps of his father, Bruno Bartel of Niagara District.
“It means a lot,” said Bartel, an 18-year-old, Grade 12 student. “My dad won 31 years ago in the pair.”
The younger Bartel also raced in Grade 9 and was thrilled to be back.
“It was nice,” he said.
Bartel said he overcame a slow start.
“The start wasn’t great but I stuck to my plan of just going down the course and then had a solid finish,” he said.
Bartel then combined with Mathias Essig just over two hours later to earn another gold in the senior men’s double.
“It’s all the amped-up energy,” Bartel said. “There was enough time in between I was able to eat and get some Gatorade into me.”
Bartel was quick to give credit to Essig for strong teamwork.
E.L. Crossley (Samantha Wimbush, Claire Leavens, Marlie Jones, Emma Goedhart, Kaylea Bray) earned gold in the novice women’s cox four for the Cyclone’s second gold of the regatta.
Bow seat Bray credited coach John Ruscitti.
“He has dedicated a lot of his life and is dedicated to our crew,” she said. “We are out six days a week on the water for two hours. It is a lot of dedication and sacrifice but this made it worthwhile for sure.
The crew also won the South Niagara Invitational.
“After the two-year break, it was great to be back on the water rowing with other novice crews that are also in the same circumstance as we are,” Bray added. “It is nice to see how everybody grew over the break and who didn’t grow.”
Crossley’s third gold went to the crew of Dario Cirello, Mason Kirton, Andy Nawrocki, Noah Paquin and Liam Shapland in the junior men’s 66kg coxed quad.
Charlotte Pieckenhagen and Sydney Swick teamed up for Ridley’s second gold in the junior women’s double after placing second as part of the crew in the senior women’s quad.
“It’s really great,” Pieckenhagen said. “The first race was really hard because we were right there with Notre Dame and the second one we had some competition from DM and it was great because they pushed the whole way down the course and they did a lot more than we were expecting. We didn’t have the best start but we definitely picked it up.”
Cait Whittard of Denis Morris had no problem picking up gold in the senior women’s single, easily outdistancing Anna Parmenter of Lorne Park and Autumn Crowe of Ridley.
Shane Irvine, Bassil DiLorenzo, Chris Irvine, Andy Nawrocki and Mason Kirton combined for Crossley’s fourth gold of the day in the novice men’s coxed quad.
“I was quite nervous for it,” Irvine said. “It went pretty fast but we all did pretty well and tried our hardest and I guess we got done.”
Irvine said the crew had no preconceived notions coming into the race.
“We didn’t know about the other crews so we just went hard,” he said. “We went in thinking it would be the hardest race of our life.”
Meredith Hilmayer and Katarine Druzina teamed up to earn gold in the senior women’s pair for Crossley’s fifth gold.
“We just got in this pair a week ago,” Hilmayer said. “We had a little injury on our team so it was a last-minute race. We put our attitudes into it and pulled through.”
“I think it’s technique. We row the same way and we’re the same height. I think that helps a lot.”
Samantha Wimbush, Ella Felker, Trinity Young, Sarah Graham and Liz Spilotro earned Crossley their sixth gold in the novice women’s 63kg coxed four.
“We visualize before racing and then we talk about what we want to work on and then we just encourage each other throughout the race,” Young said. “Our coxie makes calls for this person in the boat and the person behind you and it is really motivating,” Young said.
The crew placed first in the semifinals but it was anything but a calm, cool and collected run to gold.
“We changed our stroke the day before semifinals. We wanted to see if we could up the rate and see what seats worked out the best.”
Young admitted the move to put Spilotro at stroke was a little worrisome.
“It was a little bit but we trusted each other and it went really well.”
Crossley’s Dario Cirello, Emmerson Darling, Juliete Freure, Sarah Stacey and Ella Felker finished first in the junior women’s 63kg coxed four for the Cyclone’s seventh gold.
Crossley then closed out the regatta in style, winning both the senior women’s eight and senior men’s eight.
“It was a crazy finish, it was neck-and-neck,” Wimbush said. “It was a hard fight but the girls really pulled through.”
Other members of the winning crew were Meredith Hilmayer, Malarie Jones, Claire Leavens, Talia Taylor, Kate Druzina, Kaylea Bray, Sarah Stacey and Trinity Young.
“We knew we had the ability to win but we knew we were going to have to fight for it and we did.”
Shane Irvine, Preston Darling, Bassil DiLorenzo, Chris Irvine, Matt Jinks, Matthew Johnston, Owen Nicholls, Alessio Perco, Aidan Smouter won the final race of the day, the senior men’s eight and Calder Cleland Trophy.
“It’s absolutely incredible,” DiLorenzo said. “It was a dogfight, neck and neck all the way pretty much.”
DiLorenzo said all the extra work the crew did paid off.
“We’ve been training all year, just very confident in our training but we didn’t expect to win.”
Local crews earning silver were: Ridley College (Victor Wie, Geraldo Lopez Morales, Caillen Peickenhagen, Ethan Postma, Gabriel Lopez, Sergio Poveda, Carranza, Julian Sapounzi, Elliott Teal, Benjamin Pacceca) in the novice men’s eight; E.L. Crossley (Preston Darling, Rachel Dirks, Emma Dalton, Jillian Sisley, Isabella Janczewski) in the senior men’s quad; Ridley College (Charlotte Pieckenhagen, Sydney Swick, Talia Nixon, Anna Barrington) in the senior women’s quad; E.L. Crossley (Matthew Johnston, Owen Nicholls) in the senior men’s pair; Notre Dame (Lucas Maroney) in the senior men’s single; Ridley College (Teresa Gentes, Crystal Gao, Yiran Wang, Charlotte Langlois, Jiaya Li, Lexie Thompson-Ferrusi, Ainsley Lind, Mehr Nisa Bokhari and Ines Ahrazem-Valladolid) in the junior women’s 63kg eight; Denis Morris (Kailey McKimm, Rheagan Hamm) in the junior women’s double; Ridley College (Victor Wie, Geraldo Lopez Morales, Caillen Pieckenhagen, Ethan Postma, Gabriel Lopez) in the novice men’s coxed four; Ridley College (Talia Nixon, Anna Barrington) in the senior women’s pair; Grimsby Secondary School (Kira Moor, Val Hudson, William Davis, John Ross, Cole McMurtry) in the novice men’s 72kg coxed quad.
Local crews earning bronze were: Ridley College (Teresa Gentes, Crystal Gao, Yiran Wag, Ainsley Lind, Charlotte Langlois) in the junior women’s 59kg coxed quad; E.L. Crossley (Talia Taylor, Liz Spilotro) in the senior women’s 63kg double; Sir Winston Churchill (Carson Villers, Arden White, Chase Shultz, Levi Patterson-Raby; Carter Wayland, Hubert Sze, Jackson Hooper, Andrew Shuev, Evan Trochta) in the novice men’s eight; Rildey College (Mahmoud Radwan, Shane Keagan, Calum Murphy, Fernando Vaca) in the senior men’s quad; Ridley College (Autumn Crowe, Sascha Jansen-Rudan) in the mixed double; Sir Winston Churchill (Gisele Smith, Kairsen Frick, Sydney Jones, Kura Cooper, Hailey Haymes, Kathryn Chapman, Ambar Foster, Jessica Rush, Makena Literovich) in the novice women’s eight; A.N. Myer (Angelina Greco, Zenith Taylor, Lauren Mills, Mackenzie Murray, Roberta Stark) in the novice women coxed quad; Centennial (Clara Van Dyck) in the senior women’s single; Ridley College (Adrian Sapounzi, Cola He, Ben Bradford-Andrew, Roman Sapounzi, Liam McFarland) in the junior men’s 66kg coxed quad; Saint Paul (Sabrina Cottringer, Ella Marino) in the junior women’s double; Ridley College (Autumn Crowe) in the senior women’s single; Ridley College (Nicholas Man, Benjamin Pacceca, Julian Sapounzi, Sergio Proveda Carranza, Leah Elliott) in the junior men’s coxed quad; Blessed Trinity (Daniel Phillips, Duncan McDonald, Tye Surface, James Katrynuk, Carson Fernick) in the novice men’s 72kg coxed quad; Notre Dame (Sarah Schaefer, Anton Cooley, Adam Falvo, Ella Woodcock) in the mixed quad.
Next year’s regatta will be held June 2-4, 2023.
Dear reader. If you liked this story or one of the 4,200 other stories found on our website, please consider hitting the Support Us button on the right-hand side of our home page and making a PayPal contribution to our website. Your support would be much appreciated. If you are a business owner, please consider advertising on our site. Our rates are reasonable and we provide plenty of exposure for your business. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.