(Submitted by Friends of Brookline Rowing)
Three Brookline High School boats are heading to the USRowing National Championships after intense racing at the recent USRowing Northeast Junior District Championships in Lowell.
It will be the second trip to the Nationals for lightweight double scullers Lena Randle and Beth Kazimer, who finished fourth in the nation last year in Cincinnati.
Joining them this year for the championships June 10-12 in Oak Ridge, Tenn., will be boys' lightweight eight and a boys' pair rowed by Jack Ruske and Ari Zimmet.
Ruske and Zimmet placed second in their first heat, five seconds behind Bromfield. But they turned things around in the next heat in a nail-biter, finishing ahead of the Bromfield pair by less than a second.
The boys lightweight eight finished second in the first round to earn a berth in finals. The crew finished third behind Community Rowing and New Canaan in a race that saw a seven-second spread among the top three finishers.
“We had raced against some of the competition the previous weekend, so we knew that we would be competitive, but I don't think any of us thought that the entire squad would qualify,” said boys coach Katy Ruderman, who took the helm of the boys team this season after working with girls coach Joel Skaliotis for several years.
“This provides the team with fantastic momentum going into next year,” she said. “We have a very young team, with plenty of novices eager to join the varsity as well. I think this bodes very well for the future of Boys Rowing at Brookline High School.”
Masuzyo Mhango, who rows in the lightweight eight, said he was initially skeptical about Ruderman’s early prediction that Brookline boys would qualify for Nationals this year.
“During winter training, we had a long discussion about our chances in the spring,” he said. “I felt that we all, meaning the whole team, were surprised when Katy said we had a shot at Nationals. Almost all of us were coming from an unusually successful novice year, but we knew that competition on the varsity level was much more intense.”
Randle and Kazimer defeated New Canaan handily in the first heat, crossing the finish with a lead of nearly 12 seconds. In the next heat, the race was closer, but the Brookline girls still placed first by two seconds over Saugatuck in the semi-final. In the final race, the boat finished second, seven seconds behind Community Rowing, to win a berth in the Nationals.
“I feel that this year is very different from last year in that we are stronger both physically and mentally,” said Kazimer.
“We have an amazing team full of extremely talented rowers and coxswains,” she said. “[The] races were so close, and everyone who raced performed beautifully and really demonstrated their talents and how hard they have been working.”