RowAmericaRye Wins Three Medals at Nationals
By Melanie Cane
Of the six RowAmerica Rye crews that went to the U.S. Rowing Youth National Championships June 9-11 in Sarasota, Florida, four made it to the grand finals, and three brought home medals.
Rye High School seniors Sean Hayes and Gus Rodriguez won gold in the Men’s Youth Pair, beating Newport by two-tenths of a second. Harvard-bound Hayes and Dartmouth-bound Rodriguez won gold medals in the Men’s Youth 4 last year.
“We knew Newport was going to be tough,” said Hayes. “They’re a class act. Gus and I rowed really hard and halfway through the race were in a good position, but, in the last 500 meters, Newport put on a fantastic move. I can’t speak for Gus, but I was holding on for dear life at the end.”
Rodriguez said, “We knew that we were going to have to bring our ‘A’ game to be successful. We had to earn every stroke.”
With a nod to the coach who got them there, Rodriguez said, “I feel lucky to have worked with Coach Aleks Radovic for the past two years. Two years and two national championships is a great way to end my time as a high school rower.”
Both the Women’s Youth Varsity 4+ and the Women’s Youth Lightweight 4+ placed third. The Women’s Quad, whose crew was comprised of a freshman, a sophomore, and two seniors, came in fifth.
Since Marko Serafimovski started the program four years ago, RowAmerica has won six Youth Nationals medals: three gold, one silver, and two bronze. This season, 16 of the 24 girls made it to Nationals, as did eight of the 15 boys.
Girls’ Coach Serafimovski and Boys’ Coach Radovic are proud of all the kids. “We have set the standards and expectations to have a successful club. Every rower that comes in knows the development path that will eventually lead to becoming a national champion, as well as getting recruited to row for one of the top schools in the country.” They noted proudly that every one of their graduating seniors is going to row at a top college.
Women’s Youth Varsity 4+ team: Kelly Morrissy, Hannah Schennman, Kate O’Byrne (cox), Amanda Mustafaraj, and Melanie Holmes
Gold medalists Sean Hayes and Gus Rodriguez
Women’s Youth Lightweight 4+ team: Caroline Soltz, Mackenzie Smith, Izzy Aronin (cox), Ashley Gianneti, and Hannah Weintgartner