By Bob York
Deerfield Academy is becoming a frequent visitor to the medals podium at the New England Interscholastic Rowing Association Regatta at Lake Quinsigamond. The Big Green girls have qualified for the regatta revelry two of the past three seasons—and missed out on a medal last spring when they ended up fourth, just one point behind Buckingham, Brown & Nichols. This year’s festivities saw Deerfield pick up a bronze medal to go along with the silver medal it earned in 2009.
The entire Deerfield flotilla played a part in this spring’s success as all four Big Green boats earned their way into the Grand Finale. And from there, both the first and third boats wound up third, while the second boat was fifth and the fourth boat wound up sixth.
“I’m very happy with the way things went this season … especially at the regatta,” said first-year coach Wayne Berger, who will move over to the boys side of the boathouse to take command of that program next spring following the departure of Ben Hamilton, who had been the boys’ mentor for the past three years. “The kids really worked hard all season long, and all that hard work really paid off for them in the end.”
Their hard work wasn’t the only reason why Berger was particularly proud of this crew that powered the engines for his maiden voyage with the Big Green.
“It wasn’t the easiest of seasons a crew team ever endured,” said Berger, who, despite owning the new face in the coach’s launch, has a coaching career that extends more than 20 years.
“Mother Nature wasn’t nice to us this spring,” added Berger, who won multiple NEIRA crowns during a four-year stint at Groton School and who spent the past six years serving as assistant heavyweight men’s coach at Harvard University. “Between the heavy runoff from the winter’s snowpack and the amount of rain we received during the spring, the river got both very high and very rough at times and forced us to lose about 13 or 14 days of practice this season.”
Deerfield’s first boat consisted of Lindsey Shea ’11 and Ellie Parker ’11, who shared this year’s Coaches’ Award, as well as Claire Hutchins ’12, who will serve as one of next year’s co-captains. Last year, this trio sat in the Big Green’s second boat and followed up a perfect 9-0 record during the regular season with a New England championship in their bracket. Other crewmates in this year’s top boat were Audrey Cho ’11 and Rose Pember ’11.
The Big Green’s third boat was made up of Blair Scott ’11, Beth Lawless ’12, Sidney Cech ’12, Casey Butler ’13, and Olivia Shehan ’12, while the second boat consisted of Muriel Solberg ’12, one of next spring’s co-captains, as well as Grace Mermel ’12, Marly Morgus ’12, Alex Smith ’12, and Stephanie Vaughn ’12.
In the fourth boat, meanwhile, were Elyse Curtis ’12, Ryan Logie ’13, Sophie Berube ’12, Lexi Leija ’12, and Libby Murray ’14.
Winsor won the girls competition at the New England regatta, while Brooks wound up second.