Crew Continues Tradition of Success

Fox Chapel Crew is wrapping up a strong and successful season. Senior Blaz Vavpetic, sophomore Kate Banyas, and freshman Niko Vavpetic received invitations to the USRowing Olympic Development Program Youth Development Camp in Tennessee in June. These invitations are extended based on top performances and coach recommendations. The Youth Development Camp is the entry level to the USRowing National Team program.

At the Lindamood Cup, held April 8 on the Muskingum River in Marietta, Ohio, the following students took home medals: seniors Michael DeCecco and Blaz Vavpetic; juniors Megan Mulhern, Sarah Slember, and Finley Tersine; sophomores Kate Banyas, Emilia Boleng, Noelle Dick, Francesca Iasella, and Ryan Kaufman; and freshmen Morgaine Dudek, Ori Goldin, Keitaro Inada, and Niko Vavpetic.

With the rest of the crew in place coming off spring break, the Rust Belt Grand Prix occurred April 15 and 16, on the Allegheny River and featured a field of six teams from the Pittsburgh area and Ohio. Six different boats had first-place finishes in their categories.

  • On the men’s team, the Junior 2x with Keitaro Inada and junior Aiden Hirsch; Junior 4+ with Ryan Kaufman*, Aiden Hirsch, Keitaro Inada, junior Jude Willison, and freshman Ian Wellman; and the Varsity 4x with junior Lucas Gravina, senior Luke Curran, Blaz Vavpetic, and Michael DeCecco.
  • On the women’s team, the Varsity 8+ with junior Caroline Hinz*, Sarah Slember, Kate Banyas, Emilia Boleng, junior Izzy White, Megan Mulhern, sophomore Emma Donovan, senior Leah Kenyon, and senior Eliza Meyer; Junior 2x with sophomore Addy Rossi and Finley Tersine; and, the Novice 4+ with junior Ella Werner*, freshman Nora Kelley, freshman Adie Rimer, freshman Madeline Urso, and Morgaine Dudek.

Due to the unique setup of this race, several athletes rowed well over 32,000 meters between both days and numerous races – the equivalent of almost 20 miles!

The crew continued its impressive and competitive performances at Scholastic Sprints held April 29 at Moraine State Park, competing against six other schools with 11 out of 17 boats earning medals. The team’s first- and second-place boats were:

  • Women’s Novice 4+ – First Place – Ella Werner*, Nora Kelley, Madeline Urso, Adie Rimer, and freshman Sophia Tai;
  • Men’s Varsity 4+ – First Place – Ryan Kaufman*, Lucas Gravina, Luke Curran, Blaz Vavpetic, and Niko Vavpetic;
  • Women’s Varsity 8+ – First Place – Caroline Hinz*, Sarah Slember, Kate Banyas, Emilia Boleng, Izzy White, Megan Mulhern, Emma Donovan, Leah Kenyon, and Eliza Meyer;
  • Men’s Varsity 4x – Second Place – Lucas Gravina, Luke Curran, Blaz Vavpetic, and Michael DeCecco;
  • Women’s Junior 2x – Second Place – Sarah Slember and Kate Banyas;
  • Men’s Junior 8+ – Second Place – Michael DeCecco*, Aiden Hirsch, freshman Gavin Nguyen, Jude Willison, Keitaro Inada, freshman Chase Hahl, and Ori Goldin;
  • Women’s Varsity 4+ – Second Place – Ella Werner*, Emilia Boleng, Eliza Meyer, Leah Kenyon, and Addy Rossi;
  • Women’s Novice 2x – Second Place – freshmen Sammy Van Kirk and Morgan Van Kirk;
  • Men’s Novice 2x – Second Place – Ian Wellman and Ori Goldin; and
  • Women’s Varsity 4x – Second Place – Noelle Dick, Izzy White, Megan Mulhern, and Emma Donovan.

At Midwest Scholastic Rowing Championships, held in Milford, Michigan, on May 13-14, Fox Chapel Crew had 7 boats progress to the Grand Finals on Sunday, with another two boats progressing to the Petite Finals. The Women’s Novice 4+ finished third, and the Men’s Varsity 4x finished second. The Men’s Freshman 4x will be heading to Oak Ridge, Tennessee, next weekend to compete at the Scholastic Rowing National Regatta. The Midwest competition featured 2,500 athletes and 50 teams. Other medalists at Midwest were:

Women’s Novice 4+ – Third Place – Ella Werner, Nora Kelley, Sophia Tai, Madeline Urso, Adie Rimer
Men’s Varsity 4x: – Second Place – Lucas Gravina, Luke Curran, Blaz Vavpetic, Michael DeCecco

On June 3, Fox Chapel Crew will be hosting a free community workshop at Allegheny RiverTrail Park to mark National Learn-to-Row Day. More information can be found at

Fox Chapel Crew is led by head coaches Katie Mamatas and Stephanie Meinert, and assistant coach Rylan Morgan. For more information about Fox Chapel Crew, please visit the website above.

*Denotes coxswain. Coxswains are the athletes who steer the boat, encourage the rowers, and the only athletes to face the direction the boat is traveling in during races.