Bonner-Prendie s varsity eight boat competes in the St. Andrew s School Invitational in Middletown, Del. earlier this month. Among the members of the boat are, from left, coxswain Alina Wesolowski, Emily Sheetz, Anna Savage, Claire Savage, Victoria Brooks, Lizzy Dougherty, Maddie Giovagnoli, Colette McDonald and Meg Junod. Sheetz, the Savage sisters and Brooks will make up a varsity four boat when the Pandas battle Archbishop Carroll in the Catholic League Championships Saturday. (Courtesy / DENISE McDONALD)
Anna Savage was a freshman basketball player at Archbishop Carroll when she decided to give crew a shot to help her stay in shape.
Two years later, Savage is a junior at Bonner-Prendergast and she’ll be in the three seat in the Pandas’ varsity four boat as they take on Carroll for Catholic League supremacy Saturday on the Schuylkill River.
“I figured I’d try crew because I heard it got you in great shape,” Savage said this week as she and her crewmates prepared for this week’s Catholic League championships, which is Bonner-Prendie vs. Carroll. “They didn’t tell me how hard it is. That first year was really tough. But you get stronger every day and you get stronger with every race.”
Savage is still playing basketball, but it is rowing that she’s hearing from colleges about and there’s a very good chance she’ll be rowing on the Schuylkill for a while.
“I have an offer from Drexel and I’ve heard from Temple, it’s a pretty exciting time,” Savage said.
Junior stroke Emily Sheetz agreed it’s an exciting time as she talked about hearing from colleges and plotting the remainder of Bonner-Prendie’s spring campaign. Sheetz’s older sister Kelly rowed at Bonner-Prendie and at Marietta College.
“She kept telling me I should try it and I didn’t want to at first,” Sheetz said. “But then I tried it and I just fell in love with it. Winter training kind of dragged on this year with all the snow and bad weather, but it’s great to be out on the water again.”
The varsity four that Bonner-Prendie coach Terry Mascitelli has put together will include Sheetz, Savage, Savage’s sister Claire, a sophomore, and Victoria Brooks, a junior.
“Last year me and Victoria were on a boat and Claire and Emily were on a boat,” Anna Savage said. “Once we got together, we’ve really meshed well. It’s a strong boat. We were first in all four of the (Manny) Flick (Regatta) races.”
Sheetz has faith in any of her teammates she might be paired with.
“There’s a closeness on this team and we are all hard workers and we’re all motivated,” Sheetz said. “In any order the coaches put us in, I think we would fit well together.”
When the Pandas practice, they do so before most of their fellow Bonner-Prendergast students are awake. Sheetz has her wake-up system down to a science.
“It’s 4:45 on the river and 5:30 at the fitness center,” Sheetz said. “My alarm goes off at 3:50, 3:55 and 3:57.”
Savage looks at this spring as a natural progression from the success Bonner-Prendie started to see a year ago.
“Our JV four and our novice four finished first in the City Championships, second at Stotesbury (Cup) and fifth at nationals,” Savage said.
Sheetz is quick to give credit to Mascitelli and co-coach Jonathan Lees for the winning atmosphere they have created.
“Terry and co-coach Jonathan Lees have really put together a great program,” Sheetz said. “All the things they have us doing are making us better rowers as well as making us better people.”
The two-boat Catholic League Championships could be viewed as a steppingstone to the City Championships next week and to the Stotesbury Cup May 16 and 17, but Sheetz isn’t looking at it that way.
“It’s a medal race,” Sheetz said. “First place gets the gold and we’re going for the gold.”
• • •
T.J. Adams has had some pleasant surprises with his Strath Haven tennis team this spring, although his senior at first singles, Nick Ringle, is not one of them. Adams knew all along he had a solid competitor in Ringle.
Ringle had found out Wednesday that he had earned a wild card into the District One Singles Tournament, which got under way Friday at Healthplex.
That meant Thursday’s match with Haverford would pit two of the Central League’s six District One singles qualifiers in Ringle and Haverford’s Nate Frank. And they put on a show.
Ringle fought off two match points in the second set to send the match to a third set. With the team outcome already settled and with Ringle and Frank set for the district tournament the next day, they played a 10-point tiebreaker to settle the match and Ringle finally prevailed, 15-13.
“Nick jumped out to leads in both the first two sets,” Adams said. “They both played really well. It was the first time Nick’s been able to beat Nate.”
The 7-0 victory over Haverford gives Strath Haven an 8-2 record in the Central League and a 9-3 mark overall. They face Harriton Tuesday with a chance to finish third in the Central, although fourth place might still get the Panthers into the District One team tournament. Strath Haven also has a couple of tough nonleague opponents on the schedule in Dowingtown East and West Chester Rustin.
“We’ve made the district team tournament the last 10 years straight, so we’d like to keep that going,” Adams said. “Playing those nonleague teams tough might help us.”
Following Ringle, the Panthers have two talented youngsters holding down No. 2 and 3 singles in freshman Xandy Hammitt and sophomore Jeff Himmelstein, respectively.
Freshman Ben Troutman and Adam Tashman have come up big for Strath Haven at third doubles.
“Troutman’s been a nice surprise,” Adams said. “Third doubles has really come through at some big moments for us this season.”
The turning point for the Panthers came when they claimed a 4-3 win over Radnor.
“That was a big moment for us,” Adams said. “You know going into every season that the big matches are going to be Radnor, Lower Merion, Conestoga and Harriton. And we knew Radnor was going to be a tough match. We definitely had that one circled on our schedule.”
• • •
Senior Corey Loftus was at her best with a 3-over par 40 at Merion Golf Club’s West Course Thursday as Notre Dame posted a 219 team score, the Irish’s best score in the history of the program, in a victory over Baldwin School.
It’s looking like Mary Jane Wetzel’s team is going to be tough to stop in its bid for a fifth straight Inter-Ac League crown.
Loftus birdied seven and eight at the West in posting her 40. That total was matched by Maddie Keane. Senior Caryn Mullen was another two shots back at 42, senior Grace Desjardins had a 48, and Meghan Fahey, younger sister of former Episcopal Academy standout Sean Fahey, had a 49.