The Bishop Hendricken rowing team had itself a stellar first season as a program, recently winning the New England Novice Championship in Worcester, Massachusetts.
The Hawks row out of the Narragansett Boat Club, and compete alongside other Rhode Island high schoolers. This was the first year that Hendricken hit the water and immediately emerged as one of the top novice groups in the northeast.
Leading the way were seniors Brendan Martin and Aidan Warrener, who served as team captains after making the move from the cross country team over the summer.
Many of the Hendricken rowers were crossover athletes, which helped the Hawks catch on fast in the early going of the season.
“Most of these guys came from athletic backgrounds, so they already knew how to work their body. That was very helpful, especially for those who have more body awareness. They have done really well. We had about 36 novices at the beginning of the year and after about three weeks most of them were competing. We have a great coaching staff that has given them the tools and time to succeed and they’ve done a great job,” said Hendricken coach Maura Flanagan.
“We are both great runners, but at Hendricken we are OK runners, that’s why we made the switch. There is some crossover, the endurance factor, knowing how to pace yourself, that’s important,” added Warrener.
Prior to this season, there was some general interest in the sport at Hendricken. Many kids, such as Martin, were excited to see it be introduced and to get involved.
“After junior year a lot of us had to read the book, “The Boys in the Boat,” and after reading it we thought that it was so cool. A few months later Coach Flanagan came into the into the school (and introduced) rowing and it gained a lot of interest,” said Martin. “It’s one of those things where I knew what rowing was, but I didn’t really know what it was about. It always seemed cool to me but there just wasn’t really a way to compete.”
Now, a few short months and a New England Novice Championship later, it appears that the sport will be at Hendricken to stay.
Although the Hawks improved throughout the season, they were surprised to take home first place on the big stage.
“We were very surprised to win it but we expected to row well. Had it been prior to the season we would have been much more surprised, but with the experience that we have had over the season we went into the race knowing that we could do really well,” said Warrener.
“We knew that we had what it took to be successful, but you never know what you’re up against with the other boats. That’s one thing that I love about the sport, is that you are sitting there prior to the race and you have no idea how it’s going to play out,” added Martin.
The Hawks will compete in a few more races this season but will soon be shifting its focus to next season. Flanagan has appreciated the help of her two captains in setting a high standard during the club’s infancy.
“Their general nature as captains made a big impact for our NBC team. They set the standard for trying hard, coming to practice ready to learn and focus like I had never seen before,” said Flanagan. “They put high expectations on their teammates.”