Nov. 1, 2019 — At the Head Of The Charles Regatta (HOCR) in Boston on Sunday, Oct. 20, 2019, NMH Girls’ Varsity Rowing placed second out of 85 teams and first among independent schools in the women’s youth fours race.
With their silver medal win, coxswain Thalia Hardman ’21 and rowers Lena Smalla ’20, Eliza Atwood ’20, Katie Gatza ’20, and Bente Bechtold ’20 had the best HOCR finish in the history of the girls’ rowing program — a performance that NMH coaches called “focused,” “brave,” and “aggressive.” Izzy Campbell ’21 and Skyler Neiman ’20 rounded out the team as alternates.
The win was also the second-best finish ever by NMH at this event, the largest regatta in North America; in 1973, NMH boys won the HOCR in their category.
NMH Girls’ Rowing Coach Lou Kinder said the crew that raced the HOCR represented the efforts of the entire rowing team all season, including extra indoor trainings that allowed rowers to maximize their practice time on the water.
Atwood said the team is thrilled that their efforts paid off. “As we were bringing our boat in after the race, the boys’ team told us that we were in second. We all started crying. It was the best feeling.”
It was the most recent accomplishment for the rowing program since it shifted from racing eights in the New England Interscholastic Rowing Association (NEIRA) to racing fours. The NEIRA fours league is larger and more competitive, but at the 2019 NEIRA Championships last spring, three NMH boys’ boats finished fourth, including the boys’ first varsity four, which missed the podium by just three seconds. The NMH girls landed sixth- and seventh-place finishes.
Atwood noted that she started rowing last year and feels fortunate to have found the sport. “We’re so lucky at NMH. We have such a beautiful place to row, especially in the fall when everything’s golden. It’s a great outlet, too. I always feel better when I go out on the water. If I’m stressed that day, it all just goes away.”