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The Guilford girls’ crew was primed for a big year on the heels of its solid 2019 season. Pictured from the Indians are Piper Doheny, Adella Cho, Ella Castlevetro, Lily Mackey, Charlotte Wiley, Reagan Strand, and Shayla Flynn. (Photo courtesy of Matthew Wilson )
Senior captains Charlotte Wiley and Shayla Flynn bring their boat to the water at a practice from last spring. (Photo courtesy of Matthew Wilson )
Gregg Amter, Nate Iglehart, Hank Russell, and Dylan Jones were ready to guide the Guilford boys’ crew to continued success before the cancellation of the spring campaign. (Photo courtesy of Matthew Wilson )
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The Guilford High School crew enjoyed plenty of success in 2019, and its girls’ and boys’ teams were both ready to have an outstanding 2020 season until coronavirus struck and forced the cancellation of the spring campaign. Head Coach Matthew Wilson’s crew came into the year with an excellent blend of veteran rowers and up-and-coming athletes. Wilson was looking forward to seeing what they could accomplish on the water.
“The 2020 season would have been very successful,” said Wilson. “We had both veteran, returning rowers and a strong class of incoming rowers. If you combine the success and results, it would have made for a banner year.”
Guilford put together one of its best seasons in program history last year, featuring a total of 83 rowers within the varsity and novice divisions. Between those two groups, the Indians participated in five races during the regular season, after which they competed at the Connecticut Public Schools Rowing Championship and the New England Interscholastic Rowing Championship.
The girls’ first varsity 8-boat finished fifth out of eight teams in the state, and the second varsity 8-boat also placed fifth. In the novice division, the girls’ crew finished in second place out of 10 teams.
On the boys’ side, the Indians’ first varsity boat took seventh place among the nine teams at states, while the second varsity boat finished in fifth. The boys’ novice team came in fourth place out the nine crews in its competition.
“Two of the program’s biggest successes in 2019 were having six out of the eight boats entered in the state regatta make the regatta finals. We also had two varsity girls’ boats qualify for the New England Interscholastic Rowing Championship,” Wilson said. “Much of last year’s success can be attributed to the level of coaching the rowers received and each rower’s dedication to improve their skills, strength, condition, and techniques.”
The girls’ varsity crew was going to be led by senior captains Charlotte Wiley, Lily Mackey, and Shayla Flynn, along with fellow seniors Reagan Strand, and Adella Cho this spring. For the boys’ crew, senior captains Nate Iglehart and Gregg Amter were ready to lead the charge with Rowan Lott and William O’Donnell, who are also seniors. All of these athletes had rowed on the varsity level for the past two seasons.
Wiley has been competing for the varsity crew since she was a freshman and guided Guilford to its first appearance at the New England Interscholastic Rowing Championships in her sophomore year. Next year, Wiley will row for the Division I crew at the University of Central Florida.
“Charlotte was a huge part of our success last season, and I’m disappointed that we weren’t able to have a season this year,” Coach Wilson said. “We are going to be losing a lot of veteran rowers, but I’m confident that we will be able to come back and work our way back to a high level of success.”
Guilford’s rowers had put in a lot of work during the offseason in order to perfect their performance heading into 2020. Wiley said the team trained four days a week by lifting weights and doing cardio work.
“The student-athletes worked out extremely hard this winter, conditioning to improve their individual stamina, strength, and techniques,” said Wiley. “They practiced four days a week from November through the beginning of March, preparing to get on the water in mid-March and see their individual and team results in their workouts.”
Coach Wilson noted that the Indians featured several juniors and sophomores who were ready to compete for varsity spots this year. While those rowers will have to wait another year to do so, Wilson feels optimistic about the way his crew is shaping up for 2021.
“Overall, the teams were prepared to compete at the highest level at individual races, the state regatta, and the New England Interscholastic Rowing Championship,” Wilson said. “There were a number of sophomores and juniors who worked extremely hard over the winter to compete for a spot in the first varsity boats.”
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