• Club Manager

NRC Rocks at Rockrimmon

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — The Pioneer Valley Riverfront Club Boathouse was rocking, music blaring as competitors and a lively crowd reveled in the intimate indoor rowing setting for the Fourth Annual Rockrimmon Ergatta.

A small but determined group of Noank Rowing Club indoor rowers made the 90-minute drive as the culmination of NRC's Winter Conditioning program. (Bethany Bonner also came along to cheer on the team and help take pictures.) The NRC five who competed made their mark. The group entered four events, placing near the top in every one.

Annette Barbay finished first in the 2000-meter women's lightweight race in a time of eight minutes, seventeen seconds, nailing her goal of a 2:04 pace.

Maureen Hicks rowed alongside Barbay but was racing in the women's masters 50-plus event. She worked hard throughout and placed third in 9:10.

Phil Butta broke a four-year-old personal record when he took third in the men's masters lightweight in a time of 7:45, missing second place by less than two seconds. The relay events were the highlight of the day and have become famous for killer finishes as rowers often need to crawl off their ergs after their piece. NRC's Andy Hammond, Barbay, Courtney Stewart and Butta were entered in the 4x500 mixed relay, the day's final event.

The four had set their sights on Pioneer Cross Fit, a team that obliterated the field at last year's event in a time of 6:47. The NRC team hadn't been able to break seven minutes in practice, so their race goal was to at least row under seven. They reached that and then some. Hammond blasted the team into the lead. Maybe it was the noise, the crowd or the

fact that they were showcased in the final event, but NRC soared, with Barbay, Stewart and Butta holding on before Crossfit snatched away the win by a stroke as the place went wild.

The NRC four had finished in 6:43.All team members were grateful for the new competitive edge Andy's coaching during Winter Conditioning brought to their performances. Note for next year's indoor rowers: The Rockrimmon Ergatta is a great venue for youth, with events for under-12, U14, U17 and U19 rowers. Youth rowers of all skill levels had a great time in one of the most energized atmospheres around.

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