Junior rowers glide past junior prom

Daniela Karpenos , Staff Writer

On Saturday, May 16, Jenna Levantin ’16 will be en route to Pia Hair Salon for a wash, blow dry and styling. Lelia Boley ’16, on the other hand, will pull her hair back into a ponytail, securing any potential fly-aways with an elastic headband.

Levantin will close her eyes and keep still while a makeup artist blends in foundation and rosies her cheeks with expertise. Boley will instead slather on sunscreen in preparation for the heat.

Finally, standing in her brand new dress, Levantin will be careful to avoid consuming anymore snacks, in the event of crumbs or stains she might produce. Boley, in her Dri-FIT tank top and spandex, will grab a banana and granola bar to-go before heading out to the water.

Like Boley, all junior rowers must miss their junior prom in order to participate in the USRowing Northeast Youth Championships in Lowell, Massachusetts.

“It’s similar to states for other sports, but instead of just Connecticut, it’s the entire northeast,” James Banbury ’16 explained.

“If we don’t race at regionals, we lose the opportunity to race on the national level,” Boley said. The top three winners of each division will qualify for Youth Nationals in Sarasota, Florida.

“Everyone is putting in everything they have to get us to regionals and, hopefully, nationals,” Boley said. “We have a pretty intense training plan going.”

According to Kyle Ratner ’16, rowers have been training all winter, using indoor rowing machines, known as “ergs,” to get in shape for the spring season.

Each day after school, rowers practice from 3:30 to 6:00 p.m. on the water. The team trains six or seven times a week—Sundays are either a rest day or another opportunity to practice on the erg.

Although Ratner is slightly disappointed that he won’t be attending junior prom, he is looking forward to attending senior prom with a close friend from rowing.

Overall, his anticipation for regionals outweighs any disappointment.

“I’m excited because this is the time to really see how we stack up against our competition,” Ratner said.

Sammie Kurtz ’15 had similar sentiments when faced with this conflicting schedule last year.

“I wasn’t really bummed out about missing junior prom because I knew from the beginning of freshman year that I couldn’t go,” Kurtz recalled. “I also knew that I would be able to go to senior prom, which is probably better.”

Even so, Kurtz sympathizes with junior teammates, such as Maddie Gray ’16, who are currently coming to terms with the clashing events.

“I personally think it’s a shame that we have to miss out on something that’s part of the high school experience,” Gray said. “I know I was upset to learn that I wouldn’t be able to go to prom, and I’m sure other girls feel the same. But, then again, there’s always next year.”

Although junior rowers, like Gray, will not experience the fun and frenzy of junior prom, they will nonetheless take part in a memorable experience through contributing to their team’s competitive success.

The team excelled at regionals last year—according to Banbury, they sent over 40 kids to nationals, where they placed 11th overall. This year, they hope to surpass their previous records.

“I mean, of course I am a little sad to miss the experience of junior prom,” Boley said. “But, it’s a commitment that I made to my team and my sport, and honestly, there’s no where else I’d rather be.”