The Pine-Richland crew team looks forward to turning things around after a disappointing showing at the Erg in the ‘Burgh Indoor Rowing Championships on Feb. 23 at North Allegheny.
“Our performance did not go as well as we would have hoped, although we did see a number of (personal records) from some of our younger athletes,” coach Sam DiMarzio said. “I don’t think many of our rowers would say that this was their best performance. However, their times were still very good.
“When I spoke to the team afterwards, I stressed to take the positives out of the day, that many of them were on the cusp of medaling and that even on a bad day, they still put together solid races and were beating the teams that we will race in the spring.”
Junior Ashley Moreland (4:18.4 seconds) led the Rams with second place in the women’s coxswain 1000-meter final. Top finishers in 2,000-meter races were freshman Jill Bish, fourth, women’s lightweight novice (8:50.2), freshman Andi Harper, fifth, women’s lightweight novice (8:56.9), junior Anna Jurkovec, seventh, women’s novice (8:11.6), junior Lucas Zwastetzky, fourth, men’s lightweight JV (7:22.1), junior Chris Catalano, fifth, men’s lightweight JV (7:28.2), junior Kristen Vigna, sixth, women’s JV (7:59.4), and senior Grace Crankovic, ninth, women’s varsity (7:47.2).
DiMarzio said the squad is the strongest he has coached.
“The goal of winter training was to make the team the fastest they could be on the water,” DiMarzio said. “We tried to limit the emphasis of the ergs and focus (on) other areas that are equally important, but often neglected: weight training, core strength, mobility (and) flexibility.
“Things like pound-for-pound strength translate directly into the boat. For whatever reason, our athletes tend to be a little bit smaller than the competition, but have done a really good job at punching above their weight class.”
Vigna, a captain, said she did her best.
“I felt like I went out there and put everything I had, even though I didn’t PR,” she said. “I treated it like a water race where the boat and team are counting on you to pull your hardest.”
Senior Rainier Spears is excited by the team’s prospects.
“I hope that the weather clears up soon so that we can carry the momentum generated from our winter training into the racing season,” he said.
Senior captain Ryan Farbacher is eager for spring.
“Racing outdoors is always better than racing indoors,” Farbacher said. “The feeling of rowing on the water is simply incredible.”
The Rams are slated to open the spring season at the Pittsburgh Scholastic Sprints on April 28 at Moraine State Park in Butler County.
They have placed second in men’s high school varsity pair at the Midwest Scholastic Championship in Ohio the past two seasons.
On the girls side, the high school junior 4+ made it to the final last season, which Crankovic said was an achievement.
“The best part of my career is the group of people I have been surrounded by, who I consider family,” Crankovic said. “The memories we’ve made together are better than any gold medal, but those never hurt.”