The Rowing Team Takes On the Head of the Riverfront

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By Juliette Gaggini ’20

On October 6, 2019, the Gunnery rowing team took a trip to Hartford, Connecticut to race at the Head of the Riverfront for their first race of the season. Competing against dozens of other schools and clubs, the team raced hard and had some great results. The first bus for the regatta left bright and early at 6am on Sunday, ready to take on the 2.5 mile-long course! 

The team raced three types of boats at the Riverfront: fours, quads, and doubles. For readers who don’t know the difference, each of these boats are very different. Fours consist of four rowers with one oar each and a coxswain steering the boat. Quads and doubles are both sculling boats, which means that each rower has two oars. Quads consist of four rowers and no coxswain and doubles are boats with two rowers. The team raced a total of five fours, one quad, and one double.

The boys team had three boats racing throughout the day. In the first race of the day, at 8:30am, the varsity four, consisting of Sean Christiansen ‘21, Paris Liston ‘22,  Nathan Quelle ‘21, Riley Hurley ‘21, and coxswain Juliette Gaggini ‘20, faced 30 other boats. They came in 3rd place, beating 4th place by .2 seconds. This was the best result The Gunnery boys’ team has had racing the four at the Head of the Riverfront in many years.

The First Varsity Four (Sean Christensen ’21, Paris Liston ’22, Juliette Gaggini ’20, Nathan Quelle ’21, and Riley Hurley ’21) Image by Ava Lee ’21

The boys team also had a double racing, with Matthew Piazza ‘22 in the bow and Michael Burns ‘22 at the stroke seat. The two came in eighth place out of a field of 21. For both of the rowers, this was their first time racing a sculling boat, making the result even more impressive.

At 2:15pm, the four boys who raced in the morning also raced a quad. The lineup was Christiansen, Quelle, Hurley, and Liston in the bow. Competing against ten other boats, the quad surprised everyone and finished in 1st place, 12 seconds in front of the second place boat!

The First Quad (Paris Liston ’22, Nathan Quelle ’21, Riley Hurley ’21, and Sean Christensen ’21) Image by Juliette Gaggini ’20

Coach Turner was very happy with the results from the Head of the Riverfront, saying, “to start the season off with a bronze and gold finish is absolutely outstanding, especially when you consider that the quad is a new boat for us. We’re excited to have more sculling in our program, especially since it has been a lot of fun for the kids.”      

The girls team also had great results with their four fours. The first boat— Aurora Aviles ‘20, Jayla Stack ‘21, Hannah Richards ‘20, Grace Robinson ‘21, and coxswain Ava Lee ‘21—faced 24 other teams, finishing in 18th. When asked about the start to the season, their coach, Mr. Poole, said that there is, “promise in what they could end up doing by the end of the season as well as in the Spring season.” 

The girls second boat—Miranda Smith ‘20 Emily Bello ‘21, Audrey Richards ‘23, Ella Procyk ‘23, and coxswain Aria Trotta ‘23—had a fantastic race, finishing in 8th place out of 16 boats. This was the first ever race for three of them, so the girls and their coach, Mr. Lovejoy, were super excited with these results, especially seeing that some of their opponents were other schools’ varsity boats. 

The girls also had two novice boats racing. The novice A boat was Audrey Richards ‘23, Emily Bello ‘21, Ella Procyk ‘23, Maggie Wu ‘22, and coxswain Holli Hay ‘23. They had fantastic results, earning a bronze medal out of a field of 8 other boats. Three of the rowers, Richards, Procyk, and Bello went straight from the 2v race at 2:30pm to the novice race at 3:35pm, without time to even carry their boat back to the trailer before the next race. Coach Lovejoy was incredibly proud of their determination, saying, “the fact that they pushed through the second race with no rest time whatsoever and still did so well goes to show how mentally and physically tough they’ve become.”

Girls First Novice Four (First Row: Ella Procyk ’23, Audrey Richards ’23, Holli Hay ’23, Maggie Wu ’22, and Emily Bello ’21. Second Row: Mr. Lovejoy) Image by Juliette Gaggini ’20

The novice B boat—Emma Woodruff ‘23, Maddie Reed ‘23, Lucy Sanchez ‘23, Olivia Grieder ‘21, and coxswain Emily Chiappa ‘23—also had a great race, coming in 8th in the novice four race. Coach Lovejoy was also excited that his three novice coxswains, Trotta, Hay, and Chiappa all finished their first race course ever without missing any buoys or getting any time penalties.  

Coach Sal was also a great help in making the weekend run smoothly and said, “it was great to see the rowers performing above our expectations and I’m really looking forward to the rest of the season.”

The success of the team is all thanks to Mr. Turner, Mr. Poole, Mr. Lovejoy, Mr. Visentin, Coach Sal and Coach Bailey, who have dedicated major amounts of time and hard work to make the team as great and fun as it can be. The Head of the Riverfront was a great kick off to the season and the team and coaches look forward to more fantastic results to come!   

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