Glastonbury Boys Crew Boat Wins at State Championships

Since Steve Somosky became the head coach of the Glastonbury High School boys crew team in 2011, the program has consistently become more successful. This spring, the Tomahawks reached new heights when its first varsity eight boat won at the Connecticut Public Schools Rowing Association Championships for the first time.

The Connecticut Public Schools Rowing Association Championships (CPSRA) were held on May 17th at Lake Waramaug in New Preston. After winning the first heat in the morning, Glastonbury’s first eight boat (consisting of Scott Moore, Ethan Cummiskey, Mike Nicholson, Connor Spencer, Ian Clemens, Ryan Paulekas, Sean Martin, Greg Kernisan, Mike Plummer) won the afternoon’s 1500 meter finals race by rowing a 4:53.5, finishing more than two seconds ahead of runner-up East Lyme. Simsbury, Stonington, Avon and Farmington also finished behind Glastonbury. After keeping pace with the other boats for roughly the first two legs, the Tomahawk ramped up their speed in the final 500 meters, spring past East Lyme and Simsbury.

“Our normal strategy in races is to make a steady number of strokes for the first two legs before sprinting in the final 500 meters,” Somosky said. “By sprinting in the final when we did, we forced East Lyme and Simsbury to start sprinting earlier than they wanted to. We were able to increase our strokes per minute to 44 in the final leg, and that allowed us to catch and pass them. I was so proud of our guys when they won.”

“The boat performed to perfection during the final,” said Paulekas, who is the boat’s coxswain and a senior captain. “By taking a big move with 500 meters left, we moved up to even with 250 to go. At that point, I called the tomahawk, which is where I yell at “tomahawk” and the rowers let out a war cry and we begin to sprint. From there, we flew past Simsbury and East Lyme to take the title.”

Somosky said that winning the championship will have a big impact on the program.

“It is a momentous accomplishment for us and will help both the boys and girls crew teams tremendously. With that level of success and a new boathouse, we will continue to grow,” he said.

The first eight boat was highly successful all season. It won at the Mahoney Cup at Glastonbury’s Riverfront Park, along with a number of other Tomahawks boys and girls boats. After winning at CPRSRA, the boat qualified for the National Schools’ Rowing Association Championship, where it missed the final by .17 seconds.

Somosky and Paulekas both said the secret to the boat’s success was the chemistry rowers shared with one another.

“The kids knew what each rower was capable of, and that breeded trust. They trusted and loved one another,” Somosky said.

“This boat was by far the hardest working, most determined boat I’ve ever had the pleasure of coxing,” Paulekas said. “They never gave up, even in the toughest races. It is full of great kids who are some of my best friends.”

Now that his time with the crew team is done, Paulekas said he will most remember the fun he had with teammates.

“We won a lot and had a great season, but I will most miss all the laughter we had in the boat, as we would make hilarious jokes that would reduce everyone to tears.”

Somosky said he loved coaching the boat’s rowers this season, and hopes that they learned a lot from him.

“I think they learned trust and discipline from both me and themselves, and I hope that they can carry those lessons with them to other areas of their lives,” he said.

 

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