Boys crew places first, eighth, 12th and 16th in Nationals
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The boat crossed the finish line. It was like reliving a dream, the culmination of years of grueling work. Senior Jordi Cabanas had done it before, two years earlier, but with a different partner, Jack Ruske. His journey since then had its bumps, including a “leaky lung” that threatened his spot at the USRowing Youth Nationals. And now, he had done it again: taken home the gold medal in Nationals in the heavyweight doubles, this time with senior Aviv Preminger.
On Friday, June 15th, 15 rowers from the boys crew team, coached by Katy Ruderman, travelled to Sarasota, Florida to compete in Nationals. Brookline sent four boats: heavyweight double, lightweight double, heavyweight four, and lightweight eight.
The team’s heavyweight doubles, with Cabanas in Preminger, came in first. While Cabanas has a storied past in Nationals, with two gold medals and one bronze, Preminger has been pulling his own weight, taking home the Most Valuable Performer award for Brookline at this year’s varsity banquet.
The pair won their heat and therefore went straight to the semifinals, where they won again, advancing to the A Final. In the final, Cabanas and Preminger came in first, becoming national champions.
“It was a really close race,” Preminger said. “We didn’t have the feeling of ‘oh, we’re way ahead.’ Only when we crossed the line we realized that we won.”
Cabanas said that there was an aura of teamwork in their accomplishment that represents what he will remember most of Brookline rowing.
“There’s this moment when you win a race or do well, and you get off the water and everybody’s there and cheering for you, those moments where everyone is just really, really excited for each other, no matter how well they did,” he said.
Cabanas and Preminger were not the only elite rowers for Brookline. The lightweight doubles, featuring junior George Roudebush and senior Jonathan Lindstrom-Vautrin, came in 8th place in the country.
The duo came in third in their heat, sending them to the repechage. There, they came in second, which qualified them for semifinals. In semifinals, they came in 5th, advancing to the B Final. In the final, Roudebush and Lindstrom-Vautrin placed in 2nd, making them 8th in the nation.
The team’s lightweight eight, featuring seniors Eli Shieber, Josh Mitnick, Sam Klebanov, Alex Lapidus and Camille Newsom (coxswain), juniors Ben Groustra, Seamus Barrett, Jackson Moreno-field, and sophomore Joseph Pierre, came in 12th in the nation.
They came in third in their heat, and then came in third in the repechage, thus qualifying for semifinals. In the semifinals, they qualified for the B final, where they placed 12th in the nation.
The team’s heavyweight four, featuring seniors Jalen Chow, Drew Dempsey, and Nikita Budnik, and juniors Zach Altshuler and Theo Nygren (coxswain), came in 16th in the nation.
The boat came in fourth in their heat to proceed to the repechage, where the came in 4th and missed qualifying for semi, but managed to qualify for the C final, where they placed 16th in the nation.
Cabanas said he was proud of the way his teammates competed.
“This is probably the best we have ever done in Nationals as a program,” he said. “For lightweight eight, it’s one of the best finishes we’ve ever had. Four, it was the first four we’ve ever sent to Nationals. Just overall, as a program, we’ve really proved that we’re competitive not just in our top boat, but all the way down through the program.”
Last year, the team placed third in the heavyweight double, ninth in the lightweight four, and 16th in the lightweight eight. While the team loses key seniors, they will regain a young core this upcoming year.
“I’ll never forget this team,” Preminger said. “We really are all one big family.”
Photo credit to the Shieber family.
Noa Dalzell can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org