Despite the fierce wind and chilly temperatures, dozens of young rowers competed on Sunday in the Mountain Lakes Crew Club Sprints—the high school club’s first event of the season.
“It was pretty cold out there, and the boats got really wet,” said Mary Cain, a senior from the North Rockland Rowing Club, one of four teams competing on Sunday.
Teammate Sean Cochran wasn’t dissuaded, however. “It’s good to be out there no matter what the conditions are,” he said.
Still, after a series of morning sprints, the blustery winds became problematic. “We started off great, and then the wind really kicked up, so we had to cancel the rest of the races,” said Kim Wilkens, whose son rows for Mountain Lakes Crew Club.
The club is based out of Lee’s Park in Mt. Arlington, and Sunday’s races crossed the main lake from Chestnut Point. It is the first of seven regattas the MLCC has scheduled for this spring, and the only one on Lake Hopatcong—though the team will continue to practice there six days a week.
Mountain Lakes finished in first place in the Boys Varsity 4+ category (the team of Matt Walsh, Kristian Vyff, Kyle Lachman, Steve Reidel, and Raphaela Putz), and in second place for the Girls Varsity 4+ (Becca Gero, Nikki Musick, Nyna Mund, Meredith Sullivan and Hayley Diverio) and Boys JV 4+ (Luke Hickox, Zach Conner, Evan Watson, Alex Rosen and Jessica Grippaldi). Newburgh High School finished second in Boys Varsity 4+ and first in Boys JV 4+; Newburgh Rowing Club finished first in the Girls Varsity 4+ category. Those three teams competed with North Rockland in the day’s sprints.
“I’m happy with how we finished,” said Mountain Lakes coach Sandra Bucan. “It was our first regatta of the season, so you can’t really expect much more than that.”
The club is in its fifth year of spring racing and just completed its second fall season in 2010. “We continue to grow each season,” Wilkens said. “In the fall, we entered two boats in the world’s largest two-day rowing event and one of the most prestigious races, the Head of the Charles.” Those competitors included the team of Charles Yakimischak, Matt Walsh, Scott Bouzane, Brian Wilkens and Raphaela Putz and the team of Callie Bouzane, Katie Harrs, Kenzi Dignes, Ziski Putz and Hayley Diverio.
On May 21, the club will hold a Rowing Festival at Mountain Lake in Mountain Lakes, where locals can learn about the sport of rowing. (They held a similar event on Lake Hopatcong last fall.)
In the meantime, there are very few days when you won’t see the teams gliding through the waters of Lake Hopatcong, as the Mountain Lakes Crew Club gears up for a packed season ahead.
To read a previous article about the team, click here.