PCRA Ends Competitive Season in Philly, looks towards winter to keep great momentum going

PCRA took part in one of the largest and most prestigious fall races this past weekend at Head of the Schuylkill in Philadelphia. Although conditions threatened the regatta all weekend, cancelling a few races on Saturday, our race day on Sunday turned out great. Our athletes battled a little cross head breeze in the first half and cross tail on the second half of the course. Due to some strong current, the regatta had trouble staying on time, and many of our crews had to wait near the start line for their race.

Girls Team

The girls freshman and novice boats did exceptionally well, with our girls A entry quad getting a silver medal despite a large penalty for missing a buoy. This boat contains three freshman and an eighth grader who are also in our Varsity boats. The B entry did very well, and amazes us with how well they race. They are a very competitive group of athletes that have a lot of potential as their training progresses and gets more consistent with experience. Our frosh/novice 8+ also impressed, and continues to show up tough on race day. Our 8+ finished ahead of similar competition from some very good clubs which is a good sign for their future and potential in the sport.

Unfortunately the good fortune of the morning didn’t continue, and our girls Varsity quad had an equipment malfunction at the starting line. The footstretcher completely broke off in three seat, and we had to race without having those feet attached to the boat, which is extremely challenging. Despite this major setback, the group finished in the middle of the pack, and 6 places higher than our finish last year! Though it was a disappointing results for a boat that we expected to finish very highly, they made the most of the situation and still beat a lot of quality crews.

Our girls Varsity eight finished 23rd in a field of 53. Despite only having rowed once together before the race, and the athletes doubling up, this boat finished 17 places higher than last year. This was an exceptionally young boat (5/8 underclassmen rowers), very proud of how well they raced!

We had a good battle in the girls JV quads, which featured two lineups that have been racing close in practice. Line ups had not been rowed much in the lead up and both boats had solid races. Our girls JV four had an aggressive race and ended up running out of steam a little through the last checkpoint. With the fitness gains we are looking to get over the winter, we can expect positive things out of this group! Our girls JV double didn’t have their best race of the season, and were a bit disappointed with how they finished. They were determined not to let that happen again, important lessons for future races! Our girls JV eight was the last race of the day and they left it all out there. This crew had a lot of waiting around with the regatta delay and they held it together well. The boat had good steering line and solid power, we had talked all week about getting the legs connected early and they were achieving that. As was the case in earlier races we lost a little time in the second half of the race with some crews slipping by after us leading at earlier checkpoints.

Overall the girls team had a solid team result with a medal at a big time regatta to boot! We had huge improvement over last years results, and we see no reason not to have an even better year next year. As our team heads indoors, they are looking towards the spring, determined to work hard, and have a great, fast, spring season!

Boys Team

Our boys Varsity eight finished 14th, which was a good way to finish the season after very limited time in the boat this fall. We had focused on a different boat leading up to Head of the Charles, and changed it up to get into the big boat for the last race of the year. The boat kept themselves ahead of local rivals from Chaminade and Fordham Prep, however they fell short of their top 10 goal, missing it only by 6 seconds.

The boys Varsity quad were coming off a win at the Passaic and were looking for a higher finish than they achieved. Finishing 12th is a decent result considering they were impeded by a referee boat, however they were hungry for a higher finish and has great potential for the spring, making big strides this fall technically and physically.

The boys Varsity four had to contend with a collision at a bridge, and due to illness and injury, were not able to get as much practice in this lineup as they would have liked.

Our boys JV 4x finished 6th capping a great fall. A win at the Passaic and a very solid result at the Schuylkill should motivate this group to keep pushing themselves this winter. They made  major improvements from across the board and we’re really looking forward to seeing how they progress through the winter and into the spring season. The boys JV four raced hard and finished middle of the pack. We’re proud of the piece they put together.

We were also happy with our boys Novice 8, who have made good progress in starting the sport. These kids had a lot of fun this fall and learned a ton. We look forward to mixing them in with the older guys this winter and see how they stack up!

This boys group has a lot of potential for spring success and we are looking forward to seeing big erg scores this winter as we head indoors at the YMCA.

Henrik Rummel