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2024 States Recap: A Beautiful Day on the Merrimack And Lots to Celebrate

On Sunday, May 26th, Medford High Rowing traveled to UMass Lowell Boathouse on the Merrimack River to compete in the Massachusetts Public Schools Rowing Association (MPSRA) Spring Championships.

Despite a brief morning shower, most of Sunday was hot and sunny. For the first time, MHS Crew entered 14 boats, all hoping to earn a medal and a state championship title; unlike in the Fall, where every race is a final, the Spring morning races are time trials, followed by finals in the afternoon.

The first time trial of the day was the 1st Boys Varsity 4 (B1V4+), consisting of seniors Conor O'Leary, Adrien Wu, Theo Norton, and juniors Scott Campbell and Oumniya Benalia (coxswain). They rowed their best race of the year with a time of 5:25.5, barely missing the Grand Final.

The next race was the 1st Boys Novice 4 (B1N4+), consisting of freshmen Jayden Wu, Owen Barczak-Kroll, Euan Rees, Alex Bress (coxswain), and junior Sebastian Carricaburu.  Spending all season racing as the 4th Boys Varsity 4 helped prepare this Novice 4 for the pressure they would face in their first state race. They fought tooth and nail down the river against Arlington Belmont's novice boat. Unfortunately, they came in second place by less than 2 seconds, with a time of 5:28.5. Good enough to advance to the Grand Finals.

After the morning sweep time trials, the racing transitioned to flights. Two Boys' Doubles (B2X) competed in the first flight race. The first Boys 2X boat was crewed by senior Adrien Wu and sophomore Matt Stricker. They put together a great race despite only having raced together once before. They missed 3rd place in their flight by only 3 seconds, with a time of 6:04.6. The second Boys 2X was rowed by seniors Anthony Purifory and Cormac Lynch. This was their first race together, and they rowed admirably with a time of 7:31.1.

The next flight was the Boys' Singles (B1X). In this race, junior Scott Campbell rowed a great race. With a time of 6:09.2, Scott finished second in his flight and fourth overall. 

After a short lunch break (and delicious Matos Family Brazilian BBQ at the MHS Rowing Team Tent), the racing transitioned to the Finals. The first final was the 2nd Novice 4 (B2N4+), which consisted of senior Darriel Mendoza, sophomores Kevin Azizi, Robert Cairns, Sarah Youssef, and freshman Adam Sayres. This was their first time rowing together, and they were extremely competitive, with a time of 7:05.6. 

Following the 2nd Novice 4 were the Boys Quads (4X). Only four teams entered boats in the race, two of which were MHS Crew boats. These are the sculling boats and showcases the diverse skills that our MHS Crew are developing over the seasons. The B4X Medford A boat consisted of Sebastian Carricaburu, James Cluggish, Theo Norton, and Conor O'Leary. The B4X Medford B boat was crewed by Harry Mumma, Jayden Wu, Owen Barczak-Kroll, and Euan Rees. Both boats had great races. The A boat crossed the finish line with a time of 5:50.5, which was 40 seconds behind the first-place team but good enough for 3rd place. The B boat crossed the finish line at 6:08.8. 

The next final was the Grand Final for the 1st Novice 4 (B1N4+). After finishing second in their heat, the boys were looking to improve and finish first. In what was one of the most exciting boys' races of the day, they challenged both Cambridge Rindge & Latin and Arlington Belmont all the way down the course. In the end, the boys finished in third place, 0.2 seconds behind Arlington Belmont and 1 second behind Cambridge. 

The following two races were straight finals, meaning six or fewer boats entered the race. The first was the 3rd Varsity Boys (B3V4+) race. Alex Bress (coxswain), James Cluggish, Charlie Orcutt, Henry Gregor, and Matthew Stricker were in the boat. Only three boats entered: Medford, Cambridge, and Shrewsbury. As with the Boys Novice race, this race was neck-and-neck from start to finish. The boys gave their best effort and crossed the finish line with a time of 5:31.1, one second faster than Shrewsbury but unfortunately, 10 seconds slower than Cambridge. The 2nd varsity (B2V4+) boat consisted of varsity and novice rowers: seniors Emma Cohen, Cormac Lynch, Anthony Purifory, sophomore Henrique Matos, and freshman Harry Mumma. Like most other boats, this was the first race for these athletes. They rowed great and crossed the finish line with a time of 7:08.8. 

On the Girls' side, we are still rebuilding; therefore, we entered fewer boats. With a smaller team, most Girls' boats were mixed between Novice and Varsity rowers. The Girls’ team’s first race of the day was the 1st Girls Varsity 4 (G1V4+) boat. With only one week to practice the 1st boat, seniors Coral Chaves and Michaela Callahan, junior Megan Matarese, sophomore Sarah Youssf (coxswain), and freshman Sabina Li didn't finish as well as they hoped. However, they rowed a great race and finished with a time of 7:01.3. 

The Girls' Novice 4 (G1N4+) race followed the Varsity race with Maggie Karrol, AD Charlton, Emma Benaoui, Georgia Hargreaves, and Kaitlin Materazzo. Since this boat had a crew of all first-year rowers, the goal was about something other than placing or times. It was about experience. The experience they gained will help them become strong rowers next year.

The last Girls' race was the Girls' Double (2X). MHS Crew submitted two boats: one with two rowers from Varsity 4: Coral Chaves and Sabina Li. The second boat, consisting of two coxswains from the Boys' team, was crewed by Emma Cohen and Oumniya Benalia. Emma and Oumniya raced in the Novice 2X race. Both 2X boats raced very well. The Varsity 2X boat finished at 7:01.1, and the Novice 2X boat, in their first official race together, crossed with a time of 9:09.8. 

There were many positives to build on. The Boys' 1st Novice 4 (B1V4+) and the Boys' 4X A boat earned Bronze medals, and the Boys' 3rd Varsity 4 (B3V4+) earned a silver medal. With a handful of fourth-place finishes, both teams have much to be proud of!

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