Senior Spotlight: St. Joe’s Rowing Team


BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Spring sport senior athletes around the country are going through the same thing right now: dealing with the fact they are missing out on their final season of play for their school. We take a look at some of those athletes in Western New York and celebrate their achievements.

The St. Joe’s rowing senior class will go down as one of the most successful classes in the history of the program. Going all the way back to their freshman year, these 12 seniors helped paved the way for Marauders rowing teams for years to come.

Though their sport is year round, the St. Joe’s seniors never got the chance to compete in their final races of their high school careers.

“It’s mostly just disappoint because we don’t see the fruits of our labor,” David Crooks said. “Our fall season goes from about September to the beginning of November, then from November to about now is our winter season where we’re on the Ergometer machines and it’s just mentally draining. For us to put in all that work from November to now and not be able to show our speed is just disappointing.”

“Usually what we’d be doing right now is spring training, and that involves two practices a day,” Trent Gondek said. “That’s extra time that we’d be seeing each other, so it’s just a complete shift in the opposite direction of what we’d expect this time of year and this part of our season.”

“It’s interesting, it hurts because I really miss being with my team, and especially for rowing, we’re with each other all the time,” Daniel Benedetti said. “We go from school straight to practice, then we have plenty of rowing trips throughout the year on weekends and stuff. It’s different, not seeing them all the time, it’s just something that nobody has ever experienced before. I think that’s what makes it so challenging, you can’t see your teammates in person anymore.”

“We’re a pretty tight knit team, a lot of time during the season especially we see each other more often than we see our families,” James Starck said. “Now that we don’t have that anymore, it’s really disappointing.”

This class of seniors had an extremely high ceiling, and after making history for St. Joe’s rowing in the fall at the biggest regatta in the world by placing 28th out of 86 youth teams at the Head of the Charles Regatta, the end of their season is bitter with thoughts of what could have been.

“The memory aspect of it is the fact that we’re missing the memories that we could have made this year,” Christian Ohle said. “Our boat, our first Varsity 8, had so much potential this year. In the fall we set the best placing record at the Head of the Charles Regatta, which is the biggest regatta in the world, there’s like two million people that show up to it. We placed the best that St. Joe’s ever has at that race. Our boat was on track to hopefully win states this year, which would have been the first time it’s ever happened for St. Joe’s. I think in terms of memories, we’re missing a memory we could have made this season in our best season in St. Joe’s history.”

The seniors on this team all have favorite memories from their time on the water, from the trips they would take to the bond they made in and out of the boats, but one thing rings true: this senior class wanted what’s best for the team, and pushed hard for future teams.

“I think our main goal was to set a precedent for overachieving,” Gondek said. “When we would go to the big races or even the small races, we would put it all on the line and do our best. Just to have motivation and energy going further on is what we want for the team, other teams at the school, and other seniors.”

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