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June 1, 2016

A second national champion boat, another successful season for Niskayuna Rowing

Girls Junior Varsity 8+ takes first in three major events

picture of the Girls Junior Varsity 8+ 

The Girls Junior Varsity 8+ is shown following their victory at U.S. Scholastic National Championships in Ohio on May 28. Photos provided. 

As Niskayuna Rowing's Girls Junior Varsity 8+ crossed the finish line in the U.S. Scholastic National Championships on May 28, their performance did not just earn them a national title. It was also the final piece of what the team refers to as the "triple crown" – first place finishes in the New York State Championships, the Stotesbury Regatta and U.S. Scholastic Nationals.

This first place at nationals, which was held in Zanesville, Ohio on May 27-28, punctuated a successful spring campaign for Niskayuna Rowing that also included a state championship for the Boys Varsity 4X. That boat also took a bronze at Stotesbury, the largest regatta in the country, and fourth place at nationals.

Additionally, the Boys Junior 8+ won a bronze in the state championships, the Boys Freshman 4X earned a bronze at states and fourth in Ohio, the girls Junior 4x was fourth at States, and the Girls Freshman 8+ turned in a highly competitive season.

The team numbered 98 rowers in all, including modified participants, for the spring season.

picture of Boys Varsity 4X 
The Boys Varsity 4X celebrates its state championship in Saratoga on May 15. Photos provided. 


The championship Girls Junior Varsity 8+ at U.S. Scholastic Nationals marked the second national title in program history, with the first coming just two years ago.

The national champion Girls Junior Varsity 8+ boat is comprised of: Jie Jie Bennett, Lizzie Hoole, Maddie Rogers, Kat Molina, Arielle Behar, Marina Angelopolous, Julia Walters, Emily Meade, Hannah Meade.(While the event is sometimes mistakenly perceived as a junior varsity event, its name actually means that it is open only to crews with no senior athletes.)

"They have been really impressive with their commitment to each other, and the fact that they won states and Scholastic Nationals by open water is just huge," said coach Stacey Apfelbaum, explaining that meant there was no part of any other boat overlapped with them as they crossed the finish line.

Apfelbaum noted that the signature warm-up dance of the Girls Junior Varsity 8+ has helped foster a fun and relaxed team atmosphere this spring as student-athletes competed at the highest levels in their sport.

"The girls couldn't have gotten where they were without the rest of the team raising the level of competition. I see this victory as a reflection of the whole program," Apfelbaum said. "The senior girls, Haley Raymond, Jill Armenia and Elyssa Connolly, provided great leadership and support for the younger girls.

Apfelbaum also commended seniors Noah Chaskin, Kees VandenBerg, Jack Lampman and Gideon Schmidt who comprise the Boys Varsity 4X boat for "the commitment, tenacity and hard work they have put in over the last four years."

"They have had a tremendously successful run as high school athletes," she said. And, the season for the Boys Varsity 4X is not done just yet, as they will compete in the USRowing Youth National Championships in New Jersey beginning June 10.

The Boys Junior 8+ is: Chris Davenport, Xavier Fallone, Derek Wolfe, Tim Smith, Will Kehoe, Jack Lombardo, Lucas Parzych, Jack Weingarten and Henry Park.

The Boys Freshman 4X is: Peter Bojarczuk, Dan Palmer, Aaron Kernick, Ben O'Connell

The Girls Freshman 8+ is: Sarah Davenport, Grace Smith, Taylor Wadsworth, Tess McGrinder, Hannah Bachert, Elizabeth Seitz, Rishika Chavali, Nina Chu and julia Dalakos.

The Girls Junior 4x is Kate Ellis, Grace Nolan, Tierney Ellis, Gabriela Pirrone-Alers.


picture of the Girls Junior Varsity 8+ state trophies

Above left, the Girls Junior Varsity 8+ on the podium after winning at U.S. Scholastic Nationals on May 28; Right, the state championship trophies of the Girls Junior Varsity 8+ and the Boys Varsity 4X. Photos provided.