While you were sleeping, we were rowing.
Mount Arlington, NJ. It’s 5:30 am, and in the silence of the pre-dawn hours, 12 adults, with boats overhead, begin their steady march toward the water. Wielding newly acquired skills, and under the practiced eye of their coxswain, they gracefully flip a 50-ft racing shell from overhead into proper alignment along the dock. Locking-in oars, gingerly settling into seats, and strapping-in shoes, they pushing slowly off into the dim early morning light of Lake Hopatcong.
These twelve brave souls, representing the inaugural Master’s team, are breaking new ground for Row New Jersey. Established in the spring of 2019 with experienced rowers, and progressing in September for all experience levels, these individuals have come together to learn the art and technique of rowing.
The Row New Jersey’s Master’s team, with ages ranging from the’40s-’60s, met three days per week near dawn, greeting the sunrise while learning about the sport of rowing. Begining on land, they discovered the essential terminology, safety, and stroke basics, using the stationary ergometers (rowing machines). They then progressed to learn proper boat handling, and on-the-water rowing, while refining skills and building fitness. While they may have set foot on the Lake Hopatcong shore as individuals, they have clearly come together as a team.
Recounting her experience, Sharon Gruber shared what an enriching experience it was to become a novice team member for Row New Jersey. “I had never participated in any team sport before. We learned to work together from day one, rather than take an unexpected dip in the lake or - heaven forbid, drop the boat! It was a real growth experience for me. I had such a good feeling about our group’s dynamics from the very beginning”.
Another team member Julian Bonifacio, having recently recovered from a health issue, said it was “really nice to have a group of people who were depending on you to come down here and be part of a team. At the beginning (of my recovery), it was hard to work out on my own, and I desperately needed something like Row New Jersey. This experience was more valuable to me than I can ever fully express”.
Barbara Infante, a Row New Jersey Board Member and mother of two rowers, said she was “inspired to give rowing a try based on my kids’ experiences with the program over the last few years. I thought the 5:30 am start time would be a challenge, but instead, I looked forward to those days and catching up with my new team-mates. Learning a brand new sport was humbling, exciting, and peaceful all at the same time - and the sunrises on the lake were a gorgeous perk!”
Rowing Director, Robert Welsh reflecting on the new team said, "many people don’t realize that unlike most sports, rowing is one activity that you can continue into adulthood, year after year, with significant health benefits. You can start anytime and row for pleasure or race into your eighties.”
The Master’s program rounds out the Row New Jersey offering, which also includes a high school racing team, open to boys and girls grades eight-12, of all experience levels, as well as an introductory middle-school program for grades six through eight.
The Row New Jersey Master’s program has now wrapped-up for fall but will begin again in the spring. This team will be open to new and returning adults of all ages, experience and fitness levels. To learn more about Row New Jersey, visit www.rownj.org or contact Rowing Director Robert Welsh at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Row New Jersey delivered a strong wrap-up to the fall racing season, competing in two back-to-back regattas at the Cooper River Park in Cherry Hill.
The team kicked off the weekend competing in the Philadelphia Frostbite Regatta, an event known as the culmination of the US Rowing fall schedule for the Northeast. This regatta attracts 42 high school and collegiate teams competing in 32 events with 299 entries. Gold medals are awarded in all events, with no cold temperature rules for racing. With conditions living up to the frostbite name, the first Row New Jersey boats launched in sub-freezing temperatures - with conditions warming only into the low 40s as the day progressed. Despite the cold, the team competed in 11 races with seven boats taking top-three finishes, including five gold medals in the Men’s Novice 4+, Women’s Varsity 4+, Men’s Novice 8+, Women’s Junior Varsity 8+, and the Men’s Varsity 8+.
The team carried this momentum into Sunday’s Bill Braxton Memorial Regatta for the sixth and final regatta of the season. This regatta, founded by the Braxton family, honors the memory of Bill Braxton, a lightweight 8+ rower who tragically died in an auto accident. The Braxton is traditionally the final regatta of the fall racing season, drawing 43 teams to race in 29 events with 337 entries. Uncharacteristic of fall racing, all high school races at the Braxton are head-to-head 1500-2000 meter sprints. Row New Jersey, competing in 11 events captured five top-two finishes, including three gold medals in the Men’s Junior Varsity 8+, Women’s Varsity 4+, and Women’s Junior Varsity 4+.
The highlight of the weekend was delivered by the High School Women’s Varsity 4+, who took home the Bill Braxton Family Cup for the second year in a row. This event honors the top Women’s Varsity 4+ team, as determined by a 1500 meter qualifying heat, with the top-six finishers progressing to a 2000 meter final. The team, comprised of Coxswain Kylie Deitz (Chester), (4) Emily Kilroy (Mendham), (3) Arielle Nusbaum (Far Hills), (2) Julia Bartie (Madison), (1) Nicole Collins (Boonton Twp) finished with a time of 7:56.310 besting the closest competition by a margin of 0:13.810.
Rowing Director, Robert Welsh commenting on the weekend performance noted that "the varsity and junior varsity girls really seized the moment to shine - clearing fields of over 20 crews each on Sunday.” The full Row New Jersey team now moves forward into a comprehensive winter training program to continue building their strength and stamina for the spring racing season.
Row New Jersey is now open for enrollment for The Total Athlete Winter Training Program for the 2019-2020 season. This program is open to all athletes in grades 8-12 who are looking for a comprehensive athletic training program to prepare for rowing or spring sports. Located at Power House Fitness on Rt. 10 in Whippany, winter training will take place Mon-Fri (3:30-5:30 pm) from December 9th-February 28th with select holiday breaks. For more information on Row New Jersey, winter training, or spring racing visit www.rownj.org or contact Robert Welsh at email@example.com
Full Schedule of Events:
Philadelphia Frostbite Regatta:
Boys Nov4+: (Coxswain) Brian Rauchbach (Hopatcong) (4) Tristan Hamilton (Morristown) (3) Ashby Deitz (Chester) (2) Josh Fritts (Morristown) (1) Niko Fox (Randolph) - (1st Place)
Girls 2V4+ ‘A’: (Cox) Annabel Park (Montville) (4) Riley Mills (Califon) (3) Caroline Fabiano (Madison) (2) Charlotte Mirzaian (Madison) (1) Alex Eversfield (Mountain Lakes) - (2nd Place)
Girls 2V4+ ‘B’: (Cox) Kate Drahzal (Mendham) (4) Natale Sturman (Califon) (3) Alexandra Timoney (Basking Ridge) (2) Kaitlyn Kimble (Jefferson) (1) Kelly Kim (Califon) - (3rd Place)
Boys 2V4+: (Cox) Caroline Murphy (Morristown) (4) Charles Moran (Morristown) (3) Matt Gay (Summit) (2) Lukas Wolkenstein (Mountain Lakes) (1) Auden Gu (East Hanover) - (5th Place)
Girls V4+: (Cox) Kylie Deitz (Chester) (4) Emily Kilroy (3) Ella Nielson (Madison) (2) Julia Bartie (1) Nicole Collins - (1st Place)
Boys V4+: (Cox) Maria Blandon (Mountain Lakes) (4) Brandon Edwards (New City) (3) Connor Gay (Mendham) (2) Ben Davis (Summit) (1) Thomas McKay (Summit) - (3rd Place)
Boys Nov8+: (Cox) Brian Rauchbach (8) Tristan Hamilton (7) Niko Fox (6) Josh Fritts (5) Ashby Deitz (4) Liam Cabaj (Mendham) (3) Rohan Hemrajan (Short Hills) (2) Holden Kim (East Hanover) (1) Ethan Levy (Morristown) - (1st Place)
Girls JV8+: (Cox) Kylie Deitz (8) Emily Kilroy (7) Nicole Collins (6) Charlotte Mirzaian (5) Arielle Nusbaum (4) Natale Sturman (3) Giulia Tabacco (2) Carrie Nazarian (Mendham) (1) Alexandra Timoney - (1st Place)
Boys 2V8+ ‘B’: (Cox) Kate Drahzal (8) Tommy Sporer (Morristown) (7) Matt Gay (6) Auden Gu (5) Ashby Deitz (4) Lukas Wolkenstein (3) Harry Finnegan (Summit) (2) Charles Moran (1) Andrew Eppedio (Roxbury)- (4nd Place)
Boys 2V8+ ‘A’: (Cox) Maria Blandon (8) Brandon Edwards (7) Noah Urrutia (Mountain Lakes) (6) Dylan Brown (Hackettstown) (5) Connor Gay (4) Ben Davis (3) Thomas McKay (2) Ryan Spallone (Mountain Lakes) (1) Ian Oram (Mendham) - (2th Place)
Boys V8+: (Cox) Caroline Murphy (8) Max Nusbaum (Far Hills) (7) Andrew Treger (Summit) (6) Emmett Infante (Mountain Lakes) (5) James Daniel (Mountain Lakes) (4) Jarrett Richman (Hewitt) (3) Wilson Morton (Summit) (2) Matt Morfogen (Boonton Twp) (1) Mike Oram (Mendham) - (1st Place)
Bill Braxton Memorial Regatta:
Boys V4+ ‘A’: (Cox) Caroline Murphy (4) Noah Urrutia (3) Ian Oram (2) Ryan Spallone (1) Harry Finnegan - (10th Place)
Boys V4+ ‘B’: (Cox) Maria Blandon (4) Dylan Brown (3) James Daniel (2) Brandon Edwards (1) Thomas McKay - (14th Place)
Girls JV4+ ‘A’: (Cox) Annabel Park (4) Riley Mills (3) Ella Nielson (2) Charlotte Mirzaian (1) Kelly Kim (1st Place)
Girls JV4+ ‘B’: (Cox) Kate Drahzal,(4) Natalie Sturman (3) Caroline Fabiano (2) Kaitlyn Kimble (1) Alex Eversfield (11th Place)
Girls V4+: (Cox) Kylie Deitz (4) Emily Kilroy (3) Arielle Nusbaum (2) Julia Bartie (1) Nicole Collins (1st Place)
Boys Nov8+: (Cox) Brian Rauchbach (8) Tristan Hamilton (7) Niko Fox (6) Josh Fritts (5) Ashby Deitz (4) Liam Cabaj (3) Rohan Hemrajan (2) Holden Kim (1) Aidan Esperance (Budd Lake) (2nd Place)
Boys JV4+: (Cox) Caroline Murphy (4) Tommy Sporer (3) Matt Gay (2) Charlie Moran (1) Andrew Eppedio (20th Place)
Boys V8+: (Cox) Maria Blandon (8) Max Nusbaum (7) Andrew Treger (6) Emmett Infante (5) Wilson Morton (4) Jarrett Richman (3) Connor Gay (2) Matt Morfogen (1) Mike Oram (1st Place)
Boys JV8+: (Cox) Caroline Murphy (8) Brandon Edwards (7) Noah Urrutia (6) Dylan Brown (5) James Daniel (4) Ben Davis (3) Thomas McKay (2) Lukas Wolkenstein (1) Auden Gu (1st Place)
Boys Nov4+: (Cox) Brian Rauchbach (4) Tristan Hamilton (3) Ashby Deitz (2) Josh Fritts (1) Niko Fox (2nd Place)
Girls JV8+: (Cox) Annabel Park (8) Emily Kilroy (7) Nicole Collins (6) Charlotte Mirzaian (5) Caroline Fabiano (4) Kaitlyn Kimble (3) Giulia Tabacco (2) Carrie Nazarian (1) Alexandra Timoney (2nd Place)
Inaugural Race for Row New Jersey Middle School Program, Head of the Fish Regatta, Saratoga N.Y.
New opportunities abound for middle school students interested in the sport of rowing.
It’s forty-two degrees, and a steady rain beats down on the Fish Creek shoreline, in Saratoga, New York, as the Row New Jersey Middle School team arrives for their 6 a.m. start time. Huddled in the dark, beneath fifty-foot racing shells stacked 3-levels high, they watch the high school lightweight team rig boats for the middle school debut.
The newly fledged Row New Jersey Middle School team is making history on this day as the first middle school program for Row New Jersey, and the first to race for the team.
Established in the spring season of 2019, the Row New Jersey Middle School program was designed as a fun, low-key introduction to the sport of rowing. Middle-schoolers row for an hour and a half, three-days per week to learn the fundamentals, safety, and techniques essential to success at more competitive levels of the sport. “We have been working with two boats that have been progressing well since mid-September,” stated Rowing Director, Robert Welsh. “We thought the time was right to give them a taste of the racing experience.”
Row New Jersey sent 12 middle-schoolers to race at the Head of the Fish Regatta in Saratoga, NY, along-side the Varsity & Junior Varsity teams. The team, aligned in 2 events - the Boys Junior Freshman 8+ (8 rowers and a coxswain), and a Girls Under-15 coxed quad (4 rowers and a coxswain).
Taking to the water, in the soaking rain, the middle-schoolers raced a 2.3-mile head race, typical of the fall racing season. Head races position boats in the water at 10-20 second intervals by boat division. The winner of the race is the crew with the shortest elapsed time through the course. “While taking place on a beautiful, well-supervised course, this regatta still presented impressive competition for our youngsters in their inaugural race”, stated Welsh. “All of our middle-schoolers did a great job steering and pulling together as a team.”
Overall, the performance of the team was solid. The boys 8+, racing in an older Freshman category, placed 7th out of 8 boats. The girls placed an impressive 7th of 12 in their under-15 category. When asked about her experience middle school racer Aoife Timoney said, “We were excited and nervous, but we knew we were going to do well because we practiced a lot. The race was really tiring because we had to put all of our strength into each stroke, but then it felt really good. We didn’t notice the rain because we were too busy with our friends.”
One 8th grade Coxswain, Brian Rauchbach, went on to medal in a high school race later in the day - rounding out the contributions of our middle school students. “We couldn’t be more pleased with how the middle-schoolers have come together as a cohesive team,” stated Welsh.“We are proud of the team’s performance, despite the wet and challenging racing conditions and see great potential with this group of athletes.”
Middle-School Team: Mathew Basta (Boonton Twp), Kalia Cheung (Montville), Brayden Eppedio (Roxbury), Avery Hamilton (Morristown), Claire Hermey (Boonton Twp), Maxton Kilroy (Mendham), Ethan Levy (Morristown), Elena Mora (Boonton Twp), Griff Sanborn (Summit), Sabrina Saunders (Mendham), Aoife Timoney (Basking Ridge), Aidan To (Denville). Rowing with the middle school team Brian Rauchbach (Hopatcong) & Holden Kim (East Hanover).
Row New Jersey (formerly the Mountain Lakes Rowing Club) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation located on Lake Hopatcong and is devoted to developing the strength, character, and confidence of middle school and high school students as well as masters rowers, through the discipline and teamwork of rowing. Rowers and Coxswains come from multiple communities including Summit, Basking Ridge, Boonton, Budd Lake, Califon, Chester, East Hanover, Far Hills, Hackettstown, Hopatcong, Kinnelon, Madison, Mendham, Morristown, Mountain Lakes, Oak Ridge, Randolph, and Roxbury. To learn more about Row New Jersey, the sport of rowing, and carpool opportunities contact Rowing Director, Robert Welsh firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.rownj.org.
8/19/19 LAKE UPDATE:
Row New Jersey is primed for a competitive fall racing season, as Lake Hopatcong water conditions continue to improve
The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), swim advisory has been lifted for 6 beaches ranging from Byram Bay to Halsey Island, including Pebble Beach, Sand Harbor, Bass Rock Beach, Sperry Springs Beach, Beck Lane Beach and CAPP Beach as of August 15th.
“We are encouraged by the improvement in lake conditions, as we start planning for our fall programs”, stated Director of Rowing, Robert Welsh. “As practice begins for our fall racing season, on August 26th, we will continue to operate under an abundance of caution to ensure the health and safety of our team is the highest priority”.
“The team has been practicing on the water with summer sessions since July 25th without incident, and will continue to monitor DEP reports, and operate with strict safety policies and protocols in place” stated Row N.J. Board President, Josh McKay.
Row New Jersey has an active fall schedule planned with Varsity, Junior Varsity and Novice rowing programs for grades 8-12, middle school learn to row programs for grades 6-8, and adult master’s programs for experienced and beginning rowers. Learn more at rownj.org or contact Robert Welsh at RWelsh@RowNJ.org
For more information on the DEP advisory https://www.nj.gov/dep/newsrel/2019/19_0067.htm