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Rowing four earns bronze, eight takes top 10 finish at Head of the Charles

Crusaders and coach Jacob Filby ’14 earn first medal at prestigious event since 2008

CHS Rowing had a great showing at the Head of the Charles Regatta in Boston as the Men’s Under-17 Four earned the program’s second-ever medal at the prestigious event and the Youth Eight finished in the top 10 of scholastic boats.

The Men’s Under-17 Four of Zack Benczkowski ’26, Ethan Pirigyi ’26, Aydan Weese ’25, Meer Renschler Pandey ’25, and Noah Rajecki ’25 took third place, putting themselves in medaling position by posting the fastest time of the event in the second mile of the course. Canisius finished behind two crews from RowAmerica Rye and ahead of the remaining 23 crews in the event, including Connecticut’s Greenwich Crew and Canada’s Ridley College. 

The medal in this event is the first of any kind since Canisius placed fifth in the Youth Eight at the 2008 event. 

“The athletes in this event are superb in terms of their preparation. They do the correct things in and out of practice every day and I am happy that their te


nacity was rewarded,” said first-year coach Jacob Filby ’14. “The younger athletes on the team continuing to push their upperclassmen counterparts is what is necessary to yield long-term speed in the program.”

The Youth Eight, comprised of Max Burget ’24, Peter Cross ’24, Liam Feeney ’25, James Dodman ’24, Mark Kadiev ’24, Isaiah Aljuwani ’25, Owen Gray ’26, Thomas Skowron ’25, and Teddy Hibbard ’24, had the 10th-best finish among scholastic programs and finished 37th out of 90.

It is Canisius’ best Youth Eight finish in the event since 2014, and the performance automatically requalified the CHS Youth Eight for the 2024 Head of the Charles.

“The speed to be competitive in the Youth Eight is quite high, considering the pedigree of club programs and world class high school boats from England and S

outh Africa,” Filby said. “I am pleased with the crew we fielded. Their knowledge of elite racing and speed grows every day, so we are on track to have a pretty cerebral Varsity crew by the spring. For the upcoming week, we will work to be faster off the start of the race. The crews’ fitness is positive, so supplementing that with starting speed that is urgent, hair-on-fire pace is what the team will benefit from the most.”

Filby, who captained the crew program as a senior in 2014 and coached the freshmen/novice program from 2018-19, returned to Canisius in August of 2023 as an English teacher and head rowing coach. 

Filby also has experience coaching rowing at Temple in Philadelphia and Trinity College in Hartford. 

“We are clipping along nicely,” said Filby. “I have a lot of people to thank for that, especially CHS Rowing President Tom Flaherty. He is such a tremendous resource for me regarding my development, which benefits the team more than I can put into words. As such, the aspects that are important continue to be developed every day: work ethic, preparation, ambition, spirit, and Emersonian self-reliance.

“Every single person at the program is contributing to these ideals and if we continue at this pace, led by reliable and tenacious oarsmen, the Canisius program will be successful this year and beyond.”

The racing season ends Sunday at the Head of the Schuylkill Regatta, when the entire team travels to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The team then returns 

to action in the spring for its main championship season that will culminate at the Scholastic Championships in May and the Youth National Championships in June. 

10/23/2023 8:17:00 PM