The Oakcrest High School girls varsity eight made big progress over the weekend, winning a six-boat race at the Lake Lenape Sprints III in Mays Landing on Saturday and getting second in its heat Sunday in Philadelphia.
The previous week, the Falcons placed third at Lake Lenape, more than five seconds behind winner Mainland Regional and second-place Absegami.
The Falcons beat Absegami by more than three seconds Saturday at Lake Lenape. Oakcrest was one second behind Mainland in the Flick-Horvat race in Philadelphia on Sunday.
"I think their attitude is the biggest thing," Oakcrest coach Asiya Mahmud said. "I talk to them every day about focus and their purpose on the team. It gives them meaning and makes them better racers. They were excited about winning Saturday."
The Falcons' crew at Lake Lenape consisted of stroke Jessica Lindsay, Taylor Phy, Victoria Thies, Michaela Allen, Alonna Bennett, Giana Johnson, Maren Ross, bow Tamirah Robinson and coxswain Lindsey Prychka. Oakcrest won in 5 minutes, 15.40 seconds. The lineup was the same Sunday, with some of the crew in different seats.
Mahmud, a former Oakcrest and Drexel University rower, is a first-year head coach after assisting one year. She rowed in the Falcons' girls varsity eight in 2008, her senior year. She and assistants Heather Clayton (a former Oakcrest coxswain) and Maria Costantini (a former Oakcrest rower), run varsity, second and freshman eights and a junior four.
"I'm very hopeful for the program, and since I was there and came back, I hold the team to a higher standard," Mahmud said. "It's great to be back around them. They see that and they rise to the occasion. "
The Oakcrest girls second eight placed second to Atlantic City on Sunday in Philadelphia.
The Mainland Regional boys team produced four winners at Sunday's Flick-Horvat regatta. The Mustangs' second eight won flight 2 of its division in 4:36.95, the faster of the two flights. The Mainland crew included stroke Dillon Hall, Vinny Lombardo, Dave Evans, Gavin Pullan, Connor Mitchell, Robert Porch, Josh Leavy, bow Chris Castellano and coxswain Taylor Nardone.
The freshman eight, the fastest of three flights in its class in 4:47.09, consisted of stroke Sean Carr, Jack Storr, Jack Bergman, Alex Viscount, Erich Hegenbart, Matt Dorner, Gordon Miller, bow Dennis George and coxswain Ryan Tomlinson.
The junior four, which won flight 5 of its category, featured stroke Nick Bradley, Doug Davis, Rick Poon, bow Pat McGee and coxswain Nick Waugh.
The Mainland novice-eight A crew, the winner of flight 4 of its division, consisted of stroke Russell Bongiovanni, Eric Pushman, Andrew Katten, Eddie Henry, Sam Henry, Drew Garcia, Jake Babb, bow Mark Giannantonio and coxswain Sam Tedeschi.
The Atlantic, Cape May and Cumberland country teams will race Sunday at the fifth and final Flick-Horvat Series regatta on the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia.
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