Three Rivers Junior Rowing has successful haul at indoor championships
February 12, 2016

http://triblive.com/sports/hssports/otherhighschoolsports/9926671-74/engel-junior-rowing

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Members of the Three Rivers Rowing team's winning relay at the Pittsburgh Indoor Rowing Championships were, from left, Zachary Springer, Alex Engel, Jonathan Hydock, Lexi Heinz, Brittney Raible and Anna Farnan.
BY KAREN KADILAK | Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2016, 4:18 p.m.
Some members of the Three Rivers Junior Rowing varsity men's team on Washington's Landing call themselves the “Quad Squad” in recognition of the muscles they use in rowing.

Team member and Pine-Richland senior Alex Engel said he has been named “Quad Squad” president for coining the group's name.

Engel, 17, lived up to his lofty title by taking first place in the High School Senior Boys Final of the Pittsburgh Indoor Rowing Championship meet last month at the Kingsley Association on the East End.

Engel completed 2,000 meters on an ergometer in 6 minutes, 25.3 seconds, around 6 seconds ahead of teammate and Dartmouth College recruit Zach Springer (6:31.9).

Fourteen boys finished the race.

Engel said he expected to be a medalist.

“I knew going into this race that it would be close competition between me and my teammates (Jonathan) Hydock and Zachary Springer, but the amount of speed I've been laying down this season gave me a sense of confidence I haven't had since sophomore year,” said Engel, who began his career on the Pine-Richland Crew before moving to Three Rivers Junior Rowing last season. “I knew that I would be walking out with some hardware around my neck.”

Three Rivers Junior Rowing coach Steve McCarthy was impressed by Engel's performance.

“I knew going into the race that Alex was going to be fast,” McCarthy said. “He's had a great start to 2016 on all of his test pieces (thus) far.”

Engel was one of six Three Rivers Junior Rowing boys and girls who earned gold medals individually.

Erin McLaughlin (lightweight youth novice girls); Heather Walter (lightweight high school junior varsity girls); Sophie Winbush (high school junior varsity girls); Lexi Heinz (lightweight high school senior girls); and Brittney Raible (high school senior girls) also won.

The high school mixed six-person relay of Springer, Engel, Hydock, Anna Farnan, Heinz and Raible captured first place, as well.

McCarthy was pleasantly surprised by the medal haul and the number of career bests achieved by his rowers.

“We had 21 athletes set a new personal best time, (which) I think is the most impressive part,” he said. “I figured we would see somewhere in the mid-teens.”

Walter, a North Hills junior, said improving her time by about six seconds was as important as winning.

“Going into my erg races, my goal is to beat my personal best,” she said. “I try not to focus on winning.

“Instead, I try to keep my focus toward making myself a better rower.”

Heinz and Raible were happy to have won despite falling short of individual standards.

Heinz, an Upper St. Clair senior and Canisius College recruit, said she worked hard to meet the weight requirement for the lightweight division, in which she does not normally compete.

“It was a bit of a struggle cutting food all week,” she said.

Raible, a Hampton senior who will compete for Duquesne University next season, said her win motivated her.

“This race was a great starting point heading into the bulk of winter season,” she said.

University of Pittsburgh Crew member Zachary Petronic looks forward to outdoor racing after claiming the crown in the open men final.

“I have a long month of winter training ahead before heading to our spring training camp in early March,” said Petronic, of McCandless, a former USRowing National Team member who competed twice at the World University Games. “With racing beginning in April, the days are counting down.

“Every meter rowed now is a greater chance to do well this spring.”

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