Pine-Richland crew team closes season with strong results

Sunday, June 20, 2021 | 11:01 AM

The Pine-Richland crew team had to navigate plenty of obstacles that came with the covid-19 pandemic like mandated shut downs and having athletes train individually at home, but at the end of the year they finished with some strong results.

At the biggest event of the year, the Midwest Scholastic Championships May 8-9 in Zanesville, Ohio, Pine-Richland scored a second-place finish in girls junior four, a fourth in women’s varsity double and a third in boys novice four.

The Rams, who had 18 boys and 12 girls on the team, were shut down in January in the midst of what is their heavy training time in preparation for the spring races. Athletes were given workouts to use at home during the down time.

Once they got back into a routine, there was a good vibe within the program knowing they’d get an opportunity to race after losing their spring season in 2020.

“When we got the go-ahead to practice in February, we took the entire winter training that’s usually four months and condensed it down to a one month period to get ready to get on the water,” Pine-Richland coach Sam DiMarzio said. “In the winter we do our lifting and our cardio and condensing that down to 28 practices was a shock to everyone’s system. In the end it worked out well for us. Once we were all back together everyone worked really hard. I think once they had something to work towards that made a huge difference. I’m really happy with what they were able to accomplish.”

Prior to the Midwest races, the Rams won four events — men’s varsity eight, men’s varsity four, women’s junior four, and women’s varsity double — at the Pittsburgh Scholastic Sprints April 24 at Moraine State Park in Butler.

That momentum carried over to the Midwest Scholastic Championships where the Rams competed against 33 schools from nine states. Coxswain Alex Catalano (senior), Benjamin Pickels (freshman), Jordan Arthur (sophomore), Liam Francis (freshman) and Ethan Yoon (senior) were in the men’s novice four boat that finished fourth. Catalano will be a coxswain at Duquesne.

The girls event was held the next day in rainy, cold and windy conditions and was called after qualifying. Coxswain Mira DeLisio (senior), Megan Finney (sophomore), Andi Harper (junior), Sara Welsh (junior) and Jillian Bish (junior) made up the girls junior four team and Shana Peck (senior), Savanna Foote (senior) were the women’s varsity double team.

“How it usually works is there are time trials and then finals races, but the conditions were so poor that they called the day after time trials and awarded the winners,” DiMarzio said. “I felt bad that they went through the entire year waiting to race and they didn’t get to finish the event, but that was the best placing we’ve ever had of a sweep boat at the Midwest regatta.”

The Rams train year-round and are hopeful to get back into a normal routine starting with a summer camp for returnees in late June.

Pine-Richland crew hosts a learn-to-row program every summer for novices in the school district. The camp is open to anyone in 7-12 grade in the Pine-Richland School District.

This year’s novice camp is Aug. 2-5. Information regarding the program can be found at

Jerin Steele is a freelance writer


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