The Unionville High School Crew team just returned home from an intense weekend of competition at the largest regatta in the world: The Head of the Charles, in Boston, Massachusetts.
All three boats competing for Unionville successfully finished the race, with the Men’s Youth 4 dominating their event. Starting the race as 58 out of 84 boats, the crew flew down the course to finish with the 5th fastest time. This medal-winning crew included coxswain and Captain, senior Alenka Doyle, who steered a flawless line through the course. In the stroke seat was senior Dylan Huffman, followed by junior Ryan O’Leary, senior Sam Duncan, and junior Captain, Will Kolman.
As a head race, rowers compete against the clock after being released in 15-second intervals. The course is three miles (4,800 meters) long and stretches from the start at Boston University's DeWolfe Boathouse near the Charles River Basin to the finish just after the Eliot Bridge and before Northeastern University's Henderson Boathouse. The course is renowned for being challenging for crews to navigate without incident or penalty. The course contains six bridges to safely navigate.
After an entire year off the water due to Covid-19, rowing on ergs (stationary rowing machines) in the parking lot of Unionville High School, the team has been intensely practicing for his prestigious race. There are far more entries than accepted boats. A finish in the top 50% of entries guarantees an entry the following year, so the team will be returning next year to complete.
As a sport dominated by club teams and private and boarding schools, a public high school program performing and placing this high is a notable achievement. Starting in 2014, and now in its 7th year, the club has steadily grown to a roster size of 60 athletes.
Also competing and spotted at the Head of the Charles, was Unionville High School and Drexel University Alumnus Justin Best, who rowed for the USA at the Tokyo Olympics last summer.
The team will next be competing at the Head of the Schuylkill this weekend in Philadelphia and the Head of the Occoquan in Virginia on November 7th.