For a while, coach Mike Smith wondered how his Poughkeepsie High School girls lightweight quad would fare this season. Having graduated a key member from last year’s crew, it was a reasonable question: Could this group stay afloat?
“You never know,” Smith said. “When there’s a change and you’re adding someone new, there’s no telling what it will do to the chemistry or if the group will work well together.”
Those concerns were quickly put to rest, and this quartet made waves.
The lightweight quad team of Eden Ciferri, Anna O’Shea, Rose Spuhler and Allysia Yanez won a state championship in Saratoga Springs in May. They also went on to earn a silver medal in the Scholastic Rowing Association of America National Championship Regatta in New Jersey. Accordingly, the crew coaches of the area named the quartet its Girls Boat of the Year.
“Our boats push each other to get better each day and there isn’t a chance to relax,” Smith said, referring to the internal competition on his team. “You get out what you put in, and they put in a lot of hard work.”
Indeed. But effort alone doesn’t assure this level of success, and against elite competition. Talent matters, and so does the team’s rapport. This group had both in abundance.
Ciferri shifted to the stroke seat this season and, with her competitive spirit and “Type A personality,” became an emotional leader, Smith said.
O’Shea is an excellent singles rower, but has managed to blend her individual skills with the group and provided stability in the second seat.
Spuhler is also a basketball standout and she “brought strength and pure athleticism” to the unit, Smith said. The former coxswain also provided leadership.
Sophomore Allysia Yanez, the newcomer, “worked her butt off,” Smith said, to prove not only that she belonged, but that she was an asset to the group.
“It was an excellent season,” Smith said. “It’s awesome to see them rewarded for their effort.”
Stephen Haynes: firstname.lastname@example.org, 845-437-4826, Twitter: @StephenHaynes4.
Crew Coaches Girls All-Star Team
Eden Ciferri, Poughkeepsie
Elizabeth Gagliardi, Spackenkill
Emily Goldstein, Wappingers
Makenzie Lewis, Poughkeepsie
Olivia May, Arlington
Fiona Mauer, Poughkeepsie
Willow Pristone, Franklin D. Roosevelt
Michelle Tebolt, Arlington
Arlington: Paige Forti, Christine Johnson, Abbey Wickland
Our Lady of Lourdes: Abigail Boyko, Kathryn Witherwax
Poughkeepsie: Sam Donahue, Lizzy Felton, Anna O’Shea, Rose Spuhler, Devin Tully
Spackenkill: Amaya Anderson, Katie Clark, Zoe Whalen
Wappingers: Danielle Connally, Samantha Gaston, Rachel Mannino, Catherine Schlusser, Camille Secor