As the Loyola women’s Varsity 1 boat prepares to compete at the Scholastic Rowing Association of America’s national regatta Friday and Saturday on the Cooper River in Camden, New Jersey, Matt Baldino made sure to put the program’s success in perspective.
After the V1 boat finished third at nationals last season, every rower returned and earned another trip to the East Coast by finishing first at the Midwest Scholastic Championship.
The crew consists of senior coxswain Jane Harris and seniors Maddie Ball, Jacqueline Bigus, Haley Flanagan, Eleanor Funck, Mary McDermott, Emily Molins, Madeline Quackenbush and Kate Schumacher. Six of the nine will row in college.
“This is the most decorated class ever at Loyola,” Baldino said. “These girls are some of the best rowers in school history. As good as they are, they are significantly better kids and students.”
Molins credited the culture cultivated by the coaches — Mike Kelley, Brian Martin, Baldino — for the sustained success.
“They’ve done a really good job of promoting hard work with having fun,” she said. “Not only are we hungry to do well, we enjoy being around each other. That’s special.”
A future rower at Stanford, Molins said the experience the crew gained last season was invaluable.
“Last year, we had to prove ourselves to ourselves,” she said. “This year, we are more aware of where we stand among other teams, and we are more comfortable with the competition.”
In addition to Molins, Ball (Michigan), Bigus (Drake), Funck (Penn), McDermott (Harvard) and Quackenbush (Princeton) will row in college.
“This is a seasoned team, and they have experience in big moments,” Baldino said.
Two other varsity boats will represent Loyola at the national regatta. The women’s V2 boat, which finished first in its division at the Midwest Scholastic Championship, and the men’s V1 boat both will compete on the Cooper River.
The men’s boat includes senior coxswain Blake Bernstein, senior Jack Hare, senior Luis Mendez, senior Peter Schlax, senior Jack Smith, senior Patrick Sullivan, junior Benjamin Dukes and junior Chris Donovan.
Baldino said the crew’s third-place finish at the Midwest Scholastic Championship was impressive, considering the depth of the field.
“It was nothing short of amazing,” he said.
The women’s V2 boat consists of freshman coxswain Liam Braasch, senior Stephanie Collins, junior Allison Abeles, junior Katherine Carroll, junior Fiona Wardrop, junior Alexandra Petrozzi, sophomore Lauren Hering and sophomore Sophie Molins.
Loyola’s men’s JV boat also will represent the Ramblers at the national regatta after taking third at the Midwest Scholastic Championship. The boat includes sophomore coxswain Denny Yoo, junior Patrick Beale-DelVecchio, junior Andrew Locke, sophomore Jack Dietmeier, sophomore Jerry Malloy, sophomore Aidan McCarthy, sophomore Thomas Sullivan and sophomore Ethan Torain.sophomore Thomas Sullivan and sophomore Ethan Torain.