Crew team concludes another successful season, calling Lake Hopatcong home

In 2004, after he and his family moved to Mountain Lakes from their native Ohio, Jordan Ansell, then 17, learned that lacrosse was a popular sport in his new hometown. But he was really hoping there would be a crew team for him to join.

mlcc_sprints_2011_-_3“These kids are born with sticks in their hands, and I think it’s an awesome sport, but if I were to play, I’d have to go through years of training,” Ansell told the Daily Record in 2004.

According to that article, Ansell and parents Lynne and Jeff, were able to rally enough support to launch a Mountain Lakes Crew Club for both boys and girls.

“They personally sponsored the club for several years until the club became large enough to incorporate in 2008. The initial family formed the club based on the love of the sport and the desire to introduce the sport into Morris County. We initially rowed in Parsippany, but as I mentioned, when we started rowing eight-plus boats, we needed to look for a large body of water,” said Jim Walsh, president of the club’s Board of Trustees.

The club decided on Lake Hopatcong to serve as its home because it rows eight-plus crews, and the boats mandate a larger lake and motorized launches.

rowing_-_girls_team“We like Lake Hopatcong because of its central location, the size of the lake, and our ability to maintain a local presence at Lee’s Marina,” said Walsh, who added the club is based there and typically practices at least five days per week from 3:30-6:30 p.m. The club typically travels on Sunday to participate in regattas.

This year, the club held the MLCC Sprints on Lake Hopatcong April 3. In addition, it participated in races with North Rockland Rowing Club, Newburgh Rowing Club and Newburgh Free Academy. Last October, the club hosted a Learn to Row program and in the spring.it held a rowing festival at Lake Hopatcong. From June 10-20, the club participated in the U.S. Rowing Youth National Championships in Oak Ridge, Tenn. According to Walsh, the varsity girls team placed 10th overall.

In addition, “For the first time ever, we had two boats race on the Head of the Charles in October 2010, which is the world’s largest two-day rowing event and one of the most prestigious races. Our boys’ four-plus boat included the team of Charles Yakimischak, Matt Walsh, Scott Bouzane, Brian Wilkens and Raphaela Putz, and the girls team was Callie Bouzane, Katie Harrs, Kenzi Dignes, Ziski Putz and Hayley Diverio,” said Kim Wilkens, whose son is on the team.

She added that for the first time, the club had two crews qualify for the championships this year (Men’s Varsity 8+ and Women’s Lightweight 4+, which included more than 1,500 athletes from high school and junior rowing program across the country competing for national titles in 18 boat classes.

mlcc_-_june_2011_-_1The club is funded from membership fees, donations and fundraisers (such as wine tastings, silent auctions, rowing festivals and yard and bake sales and car washes).

So, what is a crew club anyway?

“A crew club is a rowing club. Primarily, we are sweep rowers — each athlete has one oar — and there is a coxswain in the boat. We mainly race eight-plus (up to 56 feet in length) and four-plus (up to 41 feet in length) shells. We also have one double scull — tow people with two oars. In the spring, we compete at regattas in sprint races — race side by side. These races are typically 1,500-2,000 meters. In the fall, we compete in head races that range in distance but are usually around three miles. Each crew starts in single file, and the fastest boat wins,” said Wilkens, who explained that Lee’s Marina offers them a secure location to store their boats.

“In season, we are able to use our ergs indoors, if there is bad weather. When the club first started, we had to trailer our boats to and from the lakes and rig and derig them at every practice. Not having to do that enables our athletes to have more training time on the water. Of course, without question, it is also a beautiful location.”

Mountain Lakes Crew Club Members

BOYS

Matthew Abate
Mountain Lakes
Sophomore

Daniel Admirand
Boonton Township
Freshman

Leo Boerstoel
Boonton Township
Freshman

Scott Bouzane
Mountain Lakes
Freshman

Zachary Conner
Mountain Lakes
Freshman

Christopher (CJ) Gallo
Mountain Lakes
Freshman

Michael (“Luke”) Graham
Mountain Lakes
Freshman

Jeffrey Grippaldi
Mountain Lakes
Freshman

Luke Hickox
Boonton Township
Junior

Kyle Lachman
Mountain Lakes
Sophomore

Teegan Macleod
Mountain Lakes
Freshman

Darian Parsey
Mountain Lakes
Sophomore

Stephen Reidel
Boonton Township
Junior

Alex Rosen
Mountain Lakes
Sophomore

David Teitel
Boonton Township
Freshman

Kristian Vyff
Mountain Lakes
Junior

Matthew Walsh
Boonton Township
Junior

Evan Watson
Mountain Lakes
Sophomore

Brian Wilkens
Boonton Township
Junior

GIRLS

Callie Bouzane
Mountain Lakes
Junior

Kenzi Dignes
Mountain Lakes
Sophomore

Hayley Diverio
Newton
Senior

Elena Friedberg
Mountain Lakes
Junior

Becca Gero
Morristown
Junior

Jessica Grippaldi
Mountain Lakes
Junior

Katie Harrs
Boonton Township
Junior

Nyna Mund
Mountain Lakes
Sophomore

Nicole (Nikki) Musick
Lake Hiawatha
Junior

Christine Nauss
Mountain Lakes
Freshman

Liz Nauss
Mountain Lakes
Junior

Kathryn Oram
Summit
Junior

Raphaela Putz
Mountain Lakes
Senior

Daniela Rosen
Boonton Township
Sophomore

Saraa Rosen
Boonton Township
Sophomore

Meredith Sullivan
Morristown
Junior

Amelia Whiting
Randolph
Junior

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