By Cathy Mizgerd and Kirsten Segal
The Pioneer crew team rowed strong on tumultuous lake waters with capricious winds this past Saturday, May 5, at the annual invitational regatta hosted by St. Mary’s Preparatory School in Orchard Lake, Michigan. Spectators lined the northeastern shore of Orchard Lake, where food tents, music, and percussive cheers made for a festive atmosphere. Many were bundled for warmth, despite the brightly shining sun, on account of stiff winds.
Temperatures ranged throughout the day from 55 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. The sky was a clear blue, brightly lit with plenty of sunshine. Active and rapidly shifting winds made for unpredictable and unsteady racing conditions from one event to the next.
Wind speeds ranged from seven to 14 miles per hour, with unexpected gusts of up to 24 miles per hour disrupting some boats’ progress.
The Pioneer team was one of 17 schools and clubs which together entered 297 boats in 57 events. Eight additional events, involving a total of 46 one- and two-person boats, had been scheduled for the afternoon but were canceled owing to the windy conditions. The cancelled races did not involve Pioneer boats.
The 1,500-meter course can accommodate up to six lanes at a time. With that constraint came a feature of this race that had not yet been encountered at regattas experienced earlier in the academic year by the day’s novice rowers: preliminary heat trials. Based on the preliminaries, the fastest boats were invited to participate in the final events in the afternoon.
Pioneer entered 14 boats into 13 of the day’s 36 preliminary events, and 11 of the 14 advanced to the finals. Pio also entered three boats into two “finals-only” events, meaning no preliminaries were needed for those events, based on the number of boats entered.
Of the 14 Pioneer boats that competed in final races in the afternoon, eight medaled. Among Pioneer’s eight medals on Saturday was the first gold medal to be earned so far this year by the novice Pioneer women’s eight-person boat.
“We were happy,” said coxswain Talia Zakalik. “We worked hard.”
All told, Pioneer rowers earned one gold, three silver, and four bronze medals. The fastest Pioneer time was 4:39:5, scored by the men’s freshman 8+. Based on total points earned during all of the day’s races, the Pioneer men’s teams collectively placed second overall among the men’s division of the 17 schools and clubs that competed on Saturday.
Next up for the Pioneer crew team is the Midwest Scholastic Rowing Championship, to be held this coming Friday through Sunday, May 11–13, in Zanesville, Ohio.
Women’s Novice 8+, with a time of 5:32.2: Alyssa Sun, Tina Ai, Jasmine Bose Partridge, Laura Akey, Hope Hesseltine, Erica Burns, Presley Koepp, and Catharine Sukpraphrute, with Talia Zakalik as coxswain.
Men’s Freshman 8+, with a time of 4:39.5: Luke Hudgins, Finley Gordon, Cooper Hite, Hank Murdock, Sam Kwok, Noah Jackson, Luke Fisher, and Sam Anderson, with Erik Hanson as coxswain.
Men’s Second Varsity 8+, with a time of 4:54.0: Martin Jalet, Erik Anderson, Gabe Gurule, Alex Broughton, Tom Morrison, Jonathan Flynn, Ashish Venumuddula, and Rob Snyder, with Elizabeth Williams as coxswain.
Men’s Novice 4+, with a time of 5:38.6: Nathan Sprick, Het Patel, Cooper Hite, and Hank Murdock, with Adi Bapat as coxswain.
Men’s Varsity 8+, with a time of 4:50.3: Josh Joyce, Max Bayer, Jacob Segal, James Wishart, Josh Weiner, Jack Haviland, Cal McCullough, and Josh Grant, with Natalie Uytingco as coxswain.
Men’s Varsity 4+, with a time of 5:13.0: Josh Joyce, James Wishart, Jacob Segal, and Max Bayer, with Elizabeth Williams as coxswain.
Men’s Second Varsity 4+, with a time of 5:19.1: Cal McCullough, Jack Haviland, Josh Weiner, and Josh Grant, with Natalie Uytingco as coxswain.
Women’s Varsity 4+, with a time of 6:03.0: Lucie Roy, Kate Hollenbeck, Molly Maloy, and Helena Yambrick, with Marley Wolff as coxswain.