Nutley HS crew team opens the season with fine efforts

NUTLEY, NJ – The Nutley High School crew team opened up its season on Sunday, April 2, in Philadelphia.  Conditions were difficult as the water flow was high resulting in the cancellation of many small boat and freshmen races.  However, the big boats, JV and Varsity were all able to race.

The girls squad had a very encouraging opening day.  Leading the way was the junior 4 of Alaina Feaster, Barbara Benda, Daniella LaRosa, Mackenzie Moraski, and coxswain Danielle Swan, who rowed their way to the team’s first win of the season, defeating crews from Upper Merion, Haddonfield and The Hun School in convincing fashion.

The varsity lightweights split their day, defeating Notre Dame Academy, but falling to powerhouse Montclair. Coach Kevin Smyth was very pleased with the performance of his fours and is excited about the prospect of gaining more speed over the next few weeks.

“The girls will tell you that they’ve rowed even better in practices, but they still placed well and beat a bunch of teams, which is encouraging,” Smyth said. “There is definitely more speed for us to tap into.”

The JV 8 girls showed some good speed through the first 1,000 meters of the race, but fell off in the last 500 meters, finishing fourth of five, but within only a few seconds of second, and third place. Coach Janine Ford is optimistic about the potential for the girls to carry that early speed into the last 500 meters of the race.

While the girls’ novice 4 missed the chance to row in their first race due to the conditions, they were able to watch and learn from their teammates row in the novice 8 race. The girls gained very valuable experience. As coach Anthony Scarpelli noted, “Just getting that first race out of the way is important. The girls need to begin to understand what racing against multiple crews is all about.”

The boys squad sent two fours and two eights into competition for the first week. The lightweight four of Matt Scorsone, Max Wechter, Andrew Irwin, Owen Morris and coxswain Charlie Scorsone displayed a lot of potential, rowing out in front of their competition for a significant portion of the race against perennial favorites St. Joseph’s Prep and Don Bosco. Despite finishing third, it was perhaps Nutley’s closest race of the day. Coach Judy McIntyre acknowledged the boys’ performance as one that can be used as a foundation for the boys to build upon in the next few weeks.

The senior 4 and JV8 crews fell to their competition, but Coach McIntyre and Coach Ford were not at all disappointed. “The boys rowed well and gave a strong effort,” they said. “We may be a little off the pace right now, but we can fix that.  The season is just getting started and we can make a lot of progress before State Championships roll around.”  Boys novice coach, Coach Tommy Apicella, shared the idea of his boys gaining valuable experience. They were close and given our (comparative late start for novices) were actually quite competitive.  

The next race for the rowing team will be The North Jersey Regional Youth Championships on Saturday, April 8, in nearby Overpeck Park. The Nutley rowers will face some different competition from that in Philadelphia, rowing against some club teams and high schools from New York and well as NJ.  

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