Giving Departing Coach Sobolewski Special Send-off, PNRA/Mercer Rowers Dominate at Canadian Henley
FITTING FINALE: Ted Sobolewski, the manager of rowing programs and girls’ head coach for the Princeton National Rowing Association’s Mercer Rowing Club (PNRA/Mercer), addresses some of his rowers at the Royal Canadian Henley Regatta earlier this month. It was the final competition at PNRA/ Mercer for Sobolewski before he leaves to assume the role of associate head coach for men’s rowing at Northeastern University and his rowers gave him a big send-off. The PNRA/Mercer girls won seven of the nine events they entered. The boys’ rowers added to the gold medal haul for the club, winning two events to record their first-ever victories at the competition.
As the Princeton National Rowing Association’s Mercer Rowing Club (PNRA/Mercer) girls rowers headed into the 133rd Royal Canadian Henley Regatta earlier this month, they brought some extra emotion across the border.
It was the final competition at PNRA/ Mercer for Ted Sobolewski, the club’s manager of rowing programs and girls’ head coach, before he leaves to assume the role of associate head coach for men’s rowing at Northeastern University, and his rowers were determined to give him a big send-off.
“We wanted to perform well because this was our last regatta with Coach Ted,” said co-captain Kate Hickey, a rising senior at Notre Dame High.
The PNRA/Mercer girls ended up performing brilliantly at the regatta held at St. Catherines, Ontario, the premier summer competition for amateur rowers in North America, winning seven of the nine events they entered, surpassing last year’s club record haul of five gold medals.
The club took gold in the following women’s events: the Under-23 Lightweight Women’s 8 (Rena White, Hickey, Kathryn Miller, Sheila Kennedy-Moore, Jenna Kugel, Elise Gorberg, Anna Heckler, Eileen Hu, and coxswain Maddie Alden); the U23 Women’s Lightweight Pair (Hickey and White); the U19 Women’s 8 (White, Hickey, Katherine Lustig, Celia Varga, Hayley Bork, Kelly Fischer, Sabrina Marki, Rachel Mumau, and coxswain Sydney Holgado); the U19 Women’s 4 (White, Hickey, Mumau, Bork, and coxswain Colleen Gillis); the U19 Women’s Pair — (Hickey and White); the U17 Women’s 8 (Sara Hansen, Varga, Lustig, Lauren Miller, Bridget Parker, Mia Barkenbush, Gwyneth Lavery, Isabel Roemer, and coxswain Caroline Galati); and the U17 Women’s 4 (Hansen, Varga, Lustig, K. Miller, and coxswain Galati).
In the view of co-captain Caitlin Cleary, a rising Princeton High senior, Sobolewski is leaving a special legacy.
“Coach Ted will be greatly missed by the entire program, but thanks to the environment of hard work he fostered, and the high expectations he instilled in us, PNRA/Mercer will continue to be a strong contender on the national level,” said co-captain Caitlin Cleary.
Hickey, for her part, credited Sobolewski with giving the PNRA/Mercer rowers the confidence to excel at the international level.
“Coach Ted first brought us to Canadian Henley in 2013, and we didn’t win any events that year,” said Hickey.
“He believed in us, and we improved a lot because of his coaching and training plans. Now we love this regatta because we get so many opportunities to race great competitors.
The PNRA/Mercer boys also enjoyed a memorable performance at the regatta as they won their first two Henley gold medals ever, prevailing in the U17 Men’s eight plus coxswain and U17 Men’s four plus coxswain.
Justin Ochal, the boys’ head coach, was thrilled to see the breakthrough effort. “I’m really proud of the U17 guys,” said Ochal.
“They got a taste of winning and what hard competition is all about. The whole program performed exceptionally well, and we saw good racing all week.”
The U17 Men’s 8 included Daniel Stoddard, Andrew Hickey, Erik Wicks, Philip Collins, Jack Gallagher, Andrew Moss, Brian Karp, Tyler Harris, and coxswain Katelyn Takacs while the U17 Men’s 4 was comprised of Stoddard, A. Hickey, Gallagher, Collins, and coxswain Takacs.