Hingham Shines at Head of the Charles

Boats racing on Charles River in the annual Head of the Charles Regatta (photo courtesy of John Gillooly, PEI photos)

October 28, 2022 By Holly Moriarty

Hingham was well represented at the Head of the Charles Regatta this past weekend in Boston, with 23 athletes from the Hingham High School Crew team competing, as well as their coach and team alumni. HHS Crew raced three boats—girls 4+ (four rowers and a coxswain), girls 8+ (eight rowers and coxswain), and boys 8+.

The Head of the Charles is the world’s largest rowing race, drawing 11,000 athletes from across the country and around the globe. The windy Charles River dotted with bridges is one of the most challenging head racing courses worldwide, presenting difficulties for coxswains and racers alike, even for those who practice regularly on the river.

“This race has always been one of my favorites, so to be able to bring these athletes to compete was very special for me,” said Alix Howie, head boys coach of the HHS Crew team. “They were focused and strong, and should be very proud of their performance. I know I am.”

HHS Crew Boys 8+ boat racing on the Charles River (photo courtesy of John Gillooly, PEI photos)

Conditions on Sunday were ideal for rowing—mild, very little wind, calm water, and no precipitation for Hingham’s early and late morning race times.

The girls 4+ boat pushed off first for HHS Crew in the Women’s Youth 4+ race, with rowers Grace Desai, Genevieve Vale, Ellie Dodd, Julia Lopes, and coxswain Alexa Fox, crossing the finish in 21:59.

“There were many members of the team cheering from various points along the race course. Having their friends screaming from above as they raced through the bridges definitely helps a boat stay motivated. They are a tight-knit team, and it’s amazing to see them supporting each other,” added Coach Howie.

HHS Crew Girls 4+ boat competing in the Head of the Charles (photo courtesy of Karen Dodd)

Next up for Hingham was the Women’s Youth 8+ race. Maddie McPhillips coxed rowers Sophie Kerr, Maisie Knies, Maeve Schnorr, Elena Vasilakos, Marissa Matthews, Jane Betti, Sadie Neidecker, and Abigail Brown, who completed the race in 18:40.

“Ever since I first raced in the Head of the Charles it has always been my favorite weekend of the year! What an outstanding opportunity and experience this was for the girls,” said Sydney Blasetti, Hingham Crew head girls coach, who rowed for HHS Crew and Boston University. “To be part of the 11,000 rowers from over 800 teams that were racing is an amazing accomplishment. They represented our town well and wore the Hingham colors with pride.”

The HHS Crew boys team raced in the Men’s Youth 8+ with rowers Sam Ackerman, Gabe Wagner, Will D’Arcy, Owen Burleigh, Theo Grossman, Michael Magner, Dylan Drew, Josh Bradshaw, and coxswain Michael Wegener. The boat crossed the finish in 15:58, ahead of rivals Wayland-Weston, Duxbury High School, BC High, Belmont Hill School, and Philips Exeter Academy.

HHS Crew Girls 8+ boat mid-race in the Head of the Charles Regatta (photo courtesy of Liza MacKinnon)

“This weekend was shockingly different from last year, from having to hold water mid-race and keeping up with crews that we didn’t think we could,” said Gabe Wagner, captain and senior on the boys HHS Crew team, who also competed in the Head of the Charles in 2021. “I’m going to miss having the opportunity to race the Charles, and I’m glad I didn’t take it for granted.”

The athletes weren’t the only ones from the team out on the Charles River this weekend. Novice girls coach for the Hingham Crew team Pat Houle raced in the Men’s Alumni 8+ with fellow graduates from the University of Rhode Island, where he rowed all four years.

Additionally, father/daughter team Peter and Claire Schnorr (former HHSRA president and HHS Crew ’20 respectively) represented the Naval Academy in the Directors Challenge Parent/Child Double race, placing 25th out of 42 boats.

Father/daughter team Peter and Claire Schnorr racing in the Head of the Charles (photo courtesy of Sherry Schlib)

In the run up to the Head of the Charles, the HHS Crew team brought home five medals from across New England so far this season, including gold, silver, and three bronze medals at the New England Junior Championships and Textile River Regattas.

Ten Hingham Crew boats also raced in the New Hampshire Championships George Dirth Memorial Regatta. All crews had excellent races. The girls first varsity boat and novice boat both took fourth place in a field of 12 and 9 boats respectively, the novice team missing bronze by one second.

This weekend, the team races in the Massachusetts Public School Rowing Association (MPSRA) Fall Championship Regatta in Lowell.

See the HHS Crew team in action right here in Hingham for the first annual Frosty Bow Sprints on Sunday, November 6 on the Back River in Bare Cove Park.

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