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Wakefield girls, boys crew teams enjoy most successful seasons

Multiple shells place in state and national regattas

Up through the 2018 season, the Wakefield High School crew program had limited participants and rarely generated any news.

Not now. The scope of the girls and boys teams began changing in 2019 when more  rowers joined the squad and some headlines followed. This spring, the program reached its high-water mark when multiple shells, plus one individual Warriors’ rower, placed high at the National Rowing Championships in New Jersey.

The overall national results were the best in team history.

The girls varsity eight finished fifth in the country, the girls second varsity eight was fourth in its race and the boys varsity eight was 12th.

Wakefield rower Tony Madigan finished first in the singles competition.

In addition, the boys freshman eight came close to qualifying for the semifinals.

“Their sustained effort, positive attitudes and commitment to their teammates paid incredible dividends on the water this season,” Wakefield head coach Russell Topp said.

Prior to the national meet, those same Wakefield rowers won or placed high at the state-championship meet, then at the annual Stotesbury Cup Regatta in Philadelphia.

At the state meet, the girls varsity eight won a fourth straight championship. Also at the state, the girls second eight, boys freshman eight and Madigan finished first, and the girls team earned the Points Trophy for scoring the most points by any high-school squad.

At Stotesbury, the world’s largest high-school regatta, Wakefield’s girls junior eight finished first and Madigan was second.

Back in 2018 there were just 30 rowers on the Wakefield team. This spring there were 87, with those numbers expected to grow in the future.

“We’ve had a big recruiting push by word of mouth to attract more rowers the last few years and it has worked,” Topp said. “It was a matter of telling people the program existed, and building a strong novice program first. The more rowers a team has makes it possible to improve like we have at Wakefield.”

Topp initially was Wakefield’s novice coach. He’s been the overall head coach for two seasons.

The members of Wakefield’s girls varsity eight were coxswain Olivia Chong and rowers Mira Meek, Natalie Kaldahl, Anna Duall, Isabelle Young-Smith, Maeve Harclerode, Emory Loughry, Mia Kim and Siena Kaya Nesmith.

The boys varsity eight had Liam Merrigan as coxswain and rowers Lukas Korcinskis, Will Hasecke, Nathan Murphy, Justin Blagrove, James Littlejohn, Zavier Lordos, Dylan Rathjen and Danny Cushman.

The girls second eight had Mya Hung as coxswain and rowers Annabel Bender, Amelie Przystawik, Melissa Castrillon, Harriet Sammis, Helena Helms, Clara Crawford, Clara Owen and Elise Rickard.