Brunswick rowing team places fourth at NEIRA championship regatta

Brunswick School coach John Martin helps launch the Brunswick Second Varsity-8 at New Englands on Lake Quinsigamond.

Brunswick School coach John Martin helps launch the Brunswick Second Varsity-8 at New Englands on Lake Quinsigamond.

On a day that will be remembered for unrelenting wind and rain, the Brunswick rowing team achieved its highest placing ever at the New England Interscholastic Rowing Association (NEIRA) Championship Regatta, finishing fourth place overall.

Back in 2005 and 2006, the Bruins grabbed fifth place overall, while in 2006, 2009 and 2012 Brunswick netted sixth overall in New England.

With temperatures in the low 40’s, the Brunswick Varsity-8 took fourth place in an incredibly fast and competitive grand final. While the Bruins had set their sights on a medal, they raced well in posting their fastest ever time at this regatta (4:22.60) and finishing 1.2 seconds out of the medals.

In the morning heats, Brunswick posted the second fastest time of the day to move through to the finals. In the grand final, Exeter proved to be too strong and experienced, as they pushed out to beat the field by almost an entire boat length. Kent took the silver medal in a time of 4:20.59, while Tabor earned bronze going 4:21.43.

Boston College High, who won the Second Varsity-8 event, took fifth in the Varsity final. Andover finished sixth.

Brunswick’s Varsity-8 team consists of coxswain senior Tobin Saer, senior stroke Matt Podlesak, junior Corey Okinaka, senior Sean Forester, junior Max Skolds, freshman Will Bass, sophomore Matt Marvin, junior Alex Skolds and senior bowman John Mayberry.

Brunswick’s Second Varsity-8 boat, which has struggled to post wins all year, showed tremendous commitment in the final month of the season. Their efforts paid off in the most important regatta of the year, as they met their goal of also reaching the grand final in New Englands.

Brunswick’s Second Varsity-8, containing all underclassmen, came into the regatta as the ninth seed. In their morning heat, they knocked off the fourth seed from Salisbury, who had beaten Brunswick by almost 10 seconds earlier in the year. The boys gave it their all in the grand final, even leading the pack for half the race, before fading into sixth place in what was the tightest final of all the events on the day.

Brunswick’s Third Varsity-8, which came into the regatta with an impressive 11-0 record and a No. 2 seed, had a poor race in their morning heat and failed to qualify for the finals. While the boys were disappointed, they can be proud of their successful season.

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