Megunticook Rowing finished its fall 2017 season stronger than ever, said head coach Amy Wilton.

The eight-year old community rowing club has experienced remarkable growth this year with 97 individuals, ranging in ages from 12-84, who participated in recreational and competitive team programs, Wilton said.

The coaching staff also has grown to keep up with demand for classes, employing a total of 12 coaches over the course of the year, eight of whom are MR alumni, she said.

The club also purchased two eight-person rowing shells, which increased the number of boats in the organization's fleet to 20.

The junior team fielded 40 rowers in the fall, up from 27 the previous spring. They had two novice girls 8-boats, one boys novice-4, two varsity boys 4s and one girls varsity-4.

Preparing over the summer with a morning program, some of the juniors honed their skills, then started the preseason session in mid-August. The varsity boats raced in an early race in Brunswick with local Maine rowing clubs, Merrymeeting from Brunswick and Yarmouth crews, taking first place in nearly all their races.

A couple weeks later a partial novice crew raced at the Textile River Regatta in Lowell, Mass. for their first regatta. Full crews raced at the New England championships in Worcester, Mass. and the New Hampshire championships in Pembroke, N.H.

The boys varsity-4 was able to secure a spot in the venerated Head of the Charles Regatta in Boston, Mass., the largest rowing competition in the world, with more than 10,000 rowers competing on the Charles River in one weekend.

Junior team participants included Bella Tracy, Abigail Nathan, Ellie Silverio, Lyra Kalajian, Hallie McDougal, Sage Curtis, Malea Russell, Marta Denny, Eve Gutheinz, Caroline Looke, Kat O'Brien, Alley Johnson, Aniela Creek, Sydney White, Tessa Meil, Katie Southworth, Courtney King, Elsa Chandler, Kerry Ettinger, Caroline MacMillan, Carlton Richmond, Tristan Black, Corrado Rossi, Luke James, Andrew Levitt, Henry Chamberlin, Hugh Levitt, Calvin James, Tucker Grinnell, Kylie Fong, Olivia Goodwin-Cook, Addison Castellano, Tanner Castellano, Emmett Acosta, Thomas McClellan, Sophie Love-Webb, Ellie Berez, Hannah Walker, Tessa Mott and Sadie Mills.

The team was coached by boys varsity coach Tris Coburn, novice girls coach Emma Conover, novice boys coach Bob Perkins and head coach/varsity girls coach Amy Wilton.

There also was guest coaching by Ry Hills, founder of the club, and Stephanie Lash. Don Seales was the boatman and took care of rigging and boat repair and Chris Facq prepared the coach’s launch’s for early-morning practices.

"One of the goals of MR is to instill a life-long love of the sport and every year several of their junior program graduates go on to row in college programs," Wilton said.

This year, Abby Chamberlin rowed at Dartmouth College in Hanover, N.H., Emma Brownawell at Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Jill Galloway at Bowdoin College in Brunswick and Izzy Gimlewicz coxed for Simmons College in Boston, Mass..

Past MR graduates have rowed at Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass., Williams College in Williamstown, Mass. and Bates College.

Winter training is taking place in conjunction with the Penobscot Bay YMCA, with indoor practices Monday through Friday from 3:15 to 4:30 pm. Workouts include indoor rowing, strength training and Pilates.

If interested, call the YMCA to sign-up at 236-3375. Drop-in sessions are available on rowing days, no experience necessary, classes are open to ages 12 and older.

The team anticipates record numbers again for their spring junior’s program that get on the water in April and an adult Masters team and learn to row classes that resume in June, Wilton said.

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Amy Wilton, Megunticook Rowing head coach, contributed the information for this story.

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