PNRA/Mercer Rowing Shines at Mid-Atlantic Regionals

For immediate release
May 18, 2018
West Windsor, NJ

Princeton National Rowing Association/Mercer Juniors excelled at USRowing Mid-Atlantic Youth Regional Championships walking away with the Overall Team Points Trophy, the Women’s Team Points Trophy and qualifying nine boats for the Youth National Championship. The Regional Championships were held on Mercer Lake May 12 and 13, 2018 and drew 41 teams from seven states competing in 357 boats. The event is a qualifying regatta for the USRowing Youth National Championship which will take place June 7-10, 2018 in Sacramento, California.

Mercer Rowing Program Director and Varsity Boys Head Coach Justin Ochal will take three of his men’s boats to nationals this year. The Men’s Youth 4+ took first place overall in their event, finishing more than ten seconds ahead of second place South Jersey. Rowers Jack Gallagher, Eli Kalfaian, Evan Kinter and Herbert De Cokere were coxed by Annie Huber, and finished with an official time of 6:58.97. In addition, Ochal qualified two Men’s Youth 2- boats. Mercer rowers Dana Gajewski and Andrew Moss won that event with a time of 7:45.39, followed by teammates Brady Stergion and Pavel Zhelnin in third with their time of 8:05.481.

Coach Ochal had nothing but good things to say about his rowers. “This year at Mid-Atlantics there was a lot of competition. I’m proud of the guys for stepping up and competing in difficult events. This year the boys worked hard to put themselves in the best possible position. We had some good results, and we learned where we stack up against the competition. The boys should be proud of how they rowed.”
The Mercer Junior Women will be sending its largest contingent ever to the Youth National Championship. Proving their depth as a team, the women qualified six boats: the Varsity Women’s 8+; Varsity Women’s Lightweight 8+; 2nd Varsity Women’s 8+; Women’s Varsity 4+; Women’s Varsity Lightweight 4+; and Women’s 2-.

“This entire year, I wanted to instill the ‘Team First’ attitude,” Varsity Girls Head Coach Matt Carlsen said. “It doesn’t matter what boat you are in, as long as you make it as fast as you possibly can. It really showed this past weekend. Every single girl walked away with a medal, and we won the Girl’s Team Points Trophy. I am very proud of all the hard work the girls put in over the course of the year, and for some, there are still four more weeks of even harder work to go.”

Mercer’s first and second varsity boats finished first and second in the Women’s Youth 8+ event, both qualifying for the Youth National Championship. Coxswain Lauren Preston steered rowers Bridget Parker, Katryna Niva, Elyssa Aronson, Kieran Wild, Emmanuelle Adamson, Sarah Closser, Mia Barkenbush, and Sara Hansen to victory with a time of 7:15.58. Not far behind were teammates Peri Mishkin, Sylvie Tuder, Kristen Harkins, Morgan Linsley, Catherine Dyevich, Erin Heyeck, Jacqueline Armetta, and Olivia Andersen. Coxed by Helena Wolk, their boat finished in second place with a time 7:25.53.

The Mercer Girls Team will also be sending rowers to compete in the Women’s Youth Lightweight 8+, the Women’s Youth 4+, the Women’s Youth Lightweight 4+, and the Women’s Youth 2-.
The Mercer Junior Rowing Program provides opportunities to participate in rowing to182 athletes from 46 area schools. The 48 athletes who have qualified for the USRowing Youth National Championships represent 15 area schools:

Women’s Varsity 8+
C: Lauren Preston – Notre Dame HS
8: Bridget Parker – Princeton HS
7: Katryna Niva – Hunterdon Central HS
6: Elyssa Aronson – Cherry Hill HS East
5: Kieran Wild – Council Rock HS North
4: Emmanuelle Adamson – Princeton HS
3: Sarah Closser – Princeton HS
2: Mia Barkenbush – West Windsor HS South
1: Sara Hansen – West Windsor HS South

Women’s 2nd Varsity 8+
C: Helena Wolk – Princeton HS
8: Peri Mishkin – Allentown HS
7: Sylvie Tuder – Princeton HS
6: Kristen Harkins – Notre Dame HS
5: Morgan Linsley – Princeton HS
4: Catherine Dyevich – Princeton HS
3: Erin Heyeck – Pennington School
2: Jacqueline Armetta – Villa Joseph Marie HS
1: Olivia Andersen – Princeton HS

Women’s Varsity Lightweight 8+
C: Madeleine Peel – Princeton HS
8: Catherine Vinch-Buck – Pennington School
7: Erin Dobbs – Notre Dame HS
6: Nathalie Verlinde – Princeton HS
5: Taylor Vierling – Northern Burlington HS
4: Maheera Bawa – Montgomery HS
3: Julia Berdzik – Notre Dame HS
2: Chloe Couillens – Hopewell Valley Cent HS
1: Eveline Enthoven – Princeton HS

Women’s 2-
2: Sophie Craver – Princeton HS
1: Sylvie Tuder – Princeton HS

Women’s Varsity 4+
C: Maura Harkins – Notre Dame HS
4: Sophie Craver – Princeton HS
3: Elena Kosowski – Steintert HS
2: Emma Bryan – Princeton HS
1: Caroline Gibson – Princeton HS

Women’s Lightweight 4+
C: Anna Hu – West Windsor HS South
4: Ava Wisnoski – Northern Burlington HS
3: Olivia Estes-Downs – Princeton HS
2: Caroline Adams – Council Rock HS North
1: Abigail McAleer – Council Rock HS North

Men’s 2-
2: Dana Gajewski – Princeton HS
1: Andrew Moss – Princeton HS

2: Brady Stergion – Notre Dame HS
1: Pavel Zhelnin – Princeton HS

Men’s 4+
C: Annie Huber – Stuart Country Day School
4: Jack Gallagher – Council Rock HS North
3: Eli Kalfaian – Delaware Valley Regional HS
2: Evan Kinter – Steinert HS
1: Herbert De Cokere – Montgomery HS

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.
For more information, contact Kristopher Grudt, tel: 609-799-7100 x100, or visit