PNRA-Mercer Rowers Win Bids to USRowing Youth National Championships through Success at Mid-Atlantic Youth Championships


May 11, 2015

West Windsor, NJ – Princeton National Rowing Association’s Mercer Rowing Club (PNRA-Mercer) won 7 bids to the 2015 USRowing Youth National Championships next month by achieving success at the Mid-Atlantic Youth Championships this past weekend, May 9 and 10.  Hosted by PNRA, the Mid-Atlantic Youth Championships featured 281 crews from 34 clubs based in six states and the District of Columbia and is one of six USRowing regional championships this month leading up to the national championship regatta.

Mercer qualified crews to compete for the national championship in the following events:  Women’s Youth Varsity 8 plus coxswain (two crews), Women’s Youth Lightweight Varsity 8 plus coxswain, Women’s Youth Varsity 4 plus coxswain, Men’s Youth Varsity 8 plus coxswain, Men’s Youth Lightweight 4 plus coxswain, and Men’s Youth Varsity Pair.

The depth of the girls’ team was on display this weekend.  Coach Ted Sobolewski’s girls’ first varsity 8+ crew has been turning heads all season and placed first on Sunday with an impressive time of 6 minutes, 40 seconds on the 2K course.  The crew included senior co-captain Rena White (Princeton High School), senior Alex Natale (The Hun School), sophomore Katie Lustig (Council Rock North High School) junior Kate Hickey (Notre Dame High School), senior Kelly Fischer (Hopewell Valley Central High School), junior Caitlin Cleary (Princeton High School), senior Badia Shehab (Hopewell Valley Central High School), senior co-captain senior Hayley Bork (Robbinsville High School), and coxswain Kate Edmondson (Westfield High School).  The second varsity 8+ rowed to third place behind Mt. St. Joseph’s Academy and therefore is eligible to compete at Youth Nationals as well.  Some of the girls in the second varsity 8+, also rowed in the other boats that won bids to compete for the national championship by “hot seating” or competing twice with less than an hour between races.

Junior coxswain Sydney Holgado (Robbinsville High School) was full of praise for the crew she coxed, Mercer’s girls’ varsity 4 consisting of senior Lauren Colanduoni (Hopewell Valley Central High School), freshman Sara Hansen (West Windsor Plainsboro South High School), senior Megan Botsch (Robbinsville High School) and junior Rachel Mumau (home schooled). “Going into it, we knew that the category was very competitive in this region,” said Holgado.  Indeed, four crews seemed to be in a virtual tie with 500 meters to go in the race.  “I called for five strokes to focus on technique at the 500 and then we started our sprint at the 300 meter mark. We increased the pressure and the stroke rate came up with that,” Holgado added.  The Mercer boat finished two seconds ahead of the other three boats.

“We have a lot of work to do in the next 4 weeks, but everyone is excited to keep training,” said Holgado.  Mercer typically qualifies more boats than it ends up entering into the national championship regatta.  In addition, coaches have the discretion to change up to fifty percent of the lineup of a qualifying crew.  The Mercer coaches will have some difficult decisions to make about which crews to take to Nathan Benderson Park in Sarasota-Bradenton, Fla., June 12-14 for the Youth National Championships.

In other weekend news, USRowing and PNRA announced that Mercer Lake will be the site of the 2016 Youth National Championships.

About the Princeton National Rowing Association

The Princeton National Rowing Association, a 501(c)3 organization, operates the Finn M.W. Caspersen Rowing Center located on the shores of Mercer Lake, Mercer County Park in West Windsor, New Jersey.  The Princeton National Rowing Association is dedicated to operating a world-class training site for our nation’s elite athletes, providing opportunities for area youth to excel in the sport of rowing and to expand rowing in the area through community-based programs.  PNRA runs the Mercer Junior Rowing Program which provides rowing opportunities for youth from over 30 area schools and the Mercer Masters Rowing Program which provides rowing opportunities for adults.  The center is a home to the USRowing National and Olympic Teams, as well as rowing clubs and schools. PNRA received generous support from University Orthopaedic Associates, Harry’s Army Navy, JL Racing, Resolute Racing Shells, Wells Fargo Advisors-Gould Group, Red Roof Inn, Hampton Inn and Residence Inn by Marriott.

For more information, contact Kristopher Grudt, tel: 609-977-1094, or visit