Easton, MD – Freedom Rowers recently concluded their spring season by celebrating the team’s many accomplishments on the water and saying goodbye to their departing seniors.
“It seems like we just got ourselves onto the water in the cold and wind of March, and here we are sending our kids off to summer break and colleges” said Coach and Director, Chris Gill. “But at the same time, we achieved a great level of performance and heightened technical skills which speaks to the dedication of this crew. They really push each other to be better, both on and off the water.”
The season started off well at one of the team’s favorite regattas held locally at The Gunston School. “It was some of the most exciting and close racing we have seen in a while” remarked Coach Alex Greenlee. The 8 schools competing from Maryland and DC were very well matched and set the bar high for the rest of the season. Greenlee added “Some of the Gunston rowers got their start with us at Freedom Rowers, so it was added fun to have our two teams go up against each other as both friends and rivals.”
Two other regattas that proved to be successful were the Baltimore Invitational and Baltimore City Championships. At the Invitational, the Girls JV Quad, the Boys Novice 8, the Varsity Boys 8, as well as single sculler Suzi Bruce won gold medals.
The Baltimore City Championships saw the Boys Novice 8 and Girls Quad repeat with first place wins. The Boys Varsity 8 placed 2nd behind Montgomery Boat club in a real nail-biter of a race with the lead switching on and off the entire race – ending in a half boat length finish for a real show of sportsmanship. And Suzi Bruce, who will be headed off to University of Wisconsin to row in a top-ranked Division I program this fall, had her final win in her favorite blue-hulled Vespoli single. “I’ll be rowing in 8’s only in college,” she said, “so this was a fun way to end my time with Freedom Rowers.”
The only disappointment of the season was the much anticipated 54th Upper Merion Regatta in Williamsport PA which was cancelled due to floodwater conditions. “We were super ready to take on the teams at Upper Merion”, said Saints Peter and Paul junior, Nathan Lovell, “That’s OK though, we’ll be back in the fall, there’s always another race!”
“This has been an exceptional season,” said Gill, “we had a big group of first time novice rowers that not only were fast learners, but showed grit and determination that paid off in wins. We are so proud of our young men and women!” Freedom Rowers also said farewell to 8 of their seniors, many of whom have spent 5 years with the team. “There were lots of tears at the last race among both the crew and coaches realizing that this would be the last time they all rowed together as a team, said Greenlee, “it was very emotional, as the team becomes like a second family, we’re really going to miss them”. The team is also biding a fond farewell to Coach Alex Greenlee, who after 3 years as head coach has joined the YMCA staff as their “Take the Helm” program leader where he will continue to serve our area youth.
Freedom Rowers feels so fortunate to bring the sport of rowing to our area youth, but acknowledges that it could not be done without the ongoing support of parents, local businesses, organizations, and individuals.
“We’re already looking forward to the fall season”, said Gill . “There are a lot of dreams coming true out there on the Tred Avon… and it’s all good.”
Constant rain did not diminish the enthusiasm of winning their race at the Baltimore City Championships. Pictured from L to R are: Evangelyn Olson, Maddie Morrell, Coxen Emily Redmond, Phoebe Fisher and Susanna Bruce.
Novice Boys 8 Rowers were all grins upon receiving their medals at the Baltimore Invitational in May. Pictured from L to R are: Coach Gill, Sam Lovell, Brian Milhollan, Reis Burgstahler, Jamie Easter, Oliver White, Billy Rust, Tyler Redman, Cox – Maci Dixon, Grayson Kelly and Coach Greenlee.
Freedom Rowers end of year celebration included the presentation of a mosaic sign made by the team members to adorn their boat and equipment location on the grounds of Evergreen Cove Wellness Center on Port Street.