By Cathy Mizgerd / For WLAA
In a return to in-person competition among secondary schools this autumn—after a fall 2020 hiatus in response to the COVID-19 pandemic—Pioneer High School in Ann Arbor concluded its fall 2021 season with a strong showing at regattas throughout Michigan in October. Autumn time-trial competitions are known as head races, with rowers racing the clock to complete the course in the shortest time of their category (as assigned by gender, experience level, and boat type).
On Saturday, October 2, 2021, the Pioneer Rowing Club (PRC) participated in head races hosted by St. Mary’s Preparatory School in Orchard Lake. On Saturday, October 9, the team competed on Boardman Lake at the Head of the North in Traverse City, Michigan. And on Saturday, October 23, Pioneer met seven other high schools on the Huron River at the Head of the Gallup Community Benefit event hosted by the Skyline High School crew team in Ann Arbor as a fundraiser for the Peace Neighborhood Center. The gatherings marked the first time since fall 2019 that this many teams have met in person without masks on the water for these events.
Head of the Gallup
Head of the Gallup 2021 consisted of 22 events for men’s, women’s, and mixed boats at the varsity, junior varsity, and novice levels. Boats held one, two, four, or eight rowers and a coxswain (for boats with four or more rowers). All boats navigated a 2,400-meter course beginning at the Huron Parkway Bridge, passing under the US-23 bridge, and ending near a concrete boat launch less than 300 meters beyond US-23.
Pioneer rowers reported to the race site at 6:30am and concluded the day around 4:30pm; Pioneer boats were launched from 9am until 3:20pm. The weather ranged from the 40s into the low 50s Fahrenheit, with periods of overcast skies intermingled throughout the day with stretches of bright sunlight. Winds were generally from the west-northwest at 7 mph.
To optimize the amount of funding to be donated to Peace Neighborhood Center, race hosts distributed gold medals, but not silver or bronze. Pioneer brought home eight gold medals, also qualifying for three silver and two bronze rankings. “Excellent job today,” Head Coach Scott Menoch told the team at the end of the day. “More important than those things hanging around people’s necks is we put a lot of fast boats on the water.”
“It was a really good day,” said Women’s Team Co-Captain Lillian Davidson-Walsh. “Morale was up. I am excited to see how winter goes, and I am really excited to see how spring goes!”
“I’m really glad we had a good day today,” Women’s Team Co-Captain Abby Stephan said. “It was a good way to end the season.”
This concludes the fall 2021 rowing season for Pioneer. PRC athletes are scheduled to participate in a winter conditioning program and will begin training outdoors in March 2022 for the spring season.
Men’s Novice 8+, with a time of 8.39.7: Timothy Wang, Matt Martin, Mark Flautner, Will Shumacher, Jed Amrine, James Stross, Anuj Bapat, Calvin Palomares with Georgia Busse as coxswain
Women’s Varsity 8+, with a time of 8.45.1: Emma Bassett, Radina Dinov, Lillian Davidson-Walsh, MK Coolican, Abby Stephan, Grace Kennel, Anne Stroud, Shuyi Xu with Allison Miller as coxswain
Men’s Novice 4+, with a time of 9.22.3: Timothy Wang, Mark Flautner, Will Schumacher, Matt Martin with Sam Levin as coxswain
Men’s Junior Varsity 8+, with a time of 8.04.0: Joe Clynes, Gavin Bassett, Ethan Simon, John Gronewald, Rowan Higgins, Noah Fulkerson, Max Metzger, Sam Levin with Anna Kaganov as coxswain
Women’s Varsity 4+, with a time of 9.28.0: Emma Bassett, Grace Kennel, Lillian Davidson-Walsh, MK Coolican with Allison Miller as coxswain
Women’s Junior Varsity 4+, with a time of 9.49.1: Anne Stroud, Radina Dinov, Kata Bajcz, Shuyi Xu with Cecilia Fortson as coxswain
Men’s Junior Varsity 4+, with a time of 8.45.1: John Gronewald, Gavin Bassett, Rowan Higgins, Ethan Simon with Charlie Herz as coxswain
Men’s Varsity 8+, with a time of 7.52.2: Evan Guzek, Grayson Hobrecht, Gabe Raux, Will McKarns, Rob Duke, Owen Rozek, Daniel Ko, Gabriel De Almeida with Charlie Herz as coxswain
Women’s Junior Varsity 8+, with a time of 9.32.1: Kata Bacjz, Aichata Sanogo, Alita Cunningham, Halle Rochman, Madilyn Gordon, Ella Folkedahl, Michelle Mobius, Kaytlin Steinman with Cecilia Fortson as coxswain
Men’s Varsity 4+, with a time of 8.37.8: Evan Guzek, Will McKarns, Gabe Raux, Grayson Hobrecht with Anna Kaganov as coxswain
Mixed 8+, with a time of 8.25.3: Emma Bassett, MK Coolican, Evan Guzek, Will McKarns, Gabe Raux, Owen Rozek, Lillian Davidson-Walsh, Grace Kennel with Anna Kaganov as coxswain
Men’s Junior Varsity 8+, with a time of 8.19.9: Brendan Kracht, Will MacQueen, Rome McCoy, Foster Dugan, Habib Shakour, Alder Saran, Daniel Martinez, Kousei Itoh with Charlie Herz as coxswain
Men’s Junior Varsity 4+, with a time of 9.18.7: Daniel Martinez, Alder Saran, Luca Becker, Habib Shakour with Sam Levin as coxswain