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SARATOGA SPRINGS — Tucker Wurtmann, a senior rower at Saratoga Springs CSD, has officially committed to Columbia for rowing after only being active in the sport for eight months.
“My recruitment story is pretty unique. I started rowing about eight months ago, but being a cross country runner, I was able to work really hard for college recruitment and evidently, a career at Columbia,” Wurtmann explained.
After hearing about rowing from friends and knowing the reputation of Saratoga Rowing Association (SRA); “we tend to win and have a really strong program in terms of individual rowers,” Wurtmann decided to give it a try.
He was diagnosed with stress fractures in both tibias from running for three years, forcing a transition to rowing, which he ended up loving.
“At SRA, I’m on a team with about 30 or so guys. We do a combination of on the water training, whether it be in smaller boats or larger boats, as well as indoor workouts,” he explained.
Due to his Columbia commitment, Wurtmann does not intend to run again and does off-season rowing training with a friend.
“I had been running on my own a little bit in middle school and my cousin, who is a runner, bought me shoes and encouraged me to run in high school,” he stated.
Wurtmann also dabbled briefly in Nordic skiing.
To achieve greatness, Wurtmann worked out a lot on his own and use the P.E.T.E. Plan, a continuous training plan that follows a three-week cycle that repeats sessions ever three weeks. He visited a few different schools and chose Columbia because of the team culture.
“Columbia was really the one team that I saw put in a lot of work on their own and that’s something that I really valued because my story is that I was the inexperienced rower with a good base in cardio, and so I had a lot of potential but not really as much experience as any of the other guys. I really like the culture of the team and that everyone does their own work and I also really like the guys on the team. Seeing them balance rowing in addition to being one of the best academic universities was really impressive to me and something that I’m really excited to join next year,” Wurtmann said.
At Columbia, he intends to major in biology and become an oral surgeon.
“We have really great teachers here at Saratoga and it’s been more interesting and more fun this year. I feel really confident and I’m excited to finish off the year strong,” he said of his academics.
Wurtmann has nothing but praise for the coaches and team at SRA.
“We have incredible coaches who will encourage you no matter what and give you everything you need to be as successful as you want. I think, in addition to that, the biggest thing for me was talking to the guys who are my same age but are heavier than me: have more muscle and more experience; talking to guys like that who will never look down on someone who is less than them and will only give advice on how to get better. All the team wants, really, is to get better. It’s really what you make of it. You are as good as how hard you work,” he mused.
Wurtmann should serve as an example of it never being too late to chase a dream and change your mind about something. He worked hard to succeed in a sport he only just started with and it paid off.
“If there is anyone interested in beginning rowing, never be discouraged by your starting point because the beautiful thing about rowing is that you can really pour your heart into it and get results. Improvement is proportional to how hard you work and discouragement in the early stages of your rowing career are not conducive to success.”
SARATOGA SPRINGS — On Sunday, August 12, Saratoga Rowing Association’s (SRA) Junior Men’s Coxed Four team placed second in the Junior World Championships, which took place in the Czech Republic. The team members are: Henry Bellew, Owen King, Chase Haskell, Michael Fairley, and George Doty. They are coached by Chris Chase Fairley is from Saratoga Springs.
“He is part of our high school team, he goes to Saratoga High. One of the coaches for the Junior World Championships is Chris Chase, who is our regatta director and our freshmen boys’ coach. He used to also be a teacher at Saratoga High School,” SRA executive director Eric Catalano.
In July, the Under 23 team also competed in Poland, they placed first in the U23 Women’s Double Sculls, featuring Sydney Michalak and Ashley Johnson. The Seniors team will be competing in Bulgaria September 9-16. Catalano describes the Senior World Championship as the “in between Olympics” competition.
With the Men’s Senior Quad heading to Worlds next month, their coach Emanuel Valentin had nothing but positive things to say.
“These four guys are incredibly driven to achieve their goals. Two of them (Sam and James) moved from their respective cities, NYC and Philadelphia, to train with Michael and Alex on two days’ notice. Michael is a fulltime student at RPI is also enrolled in the ROTC program. Alex just graduated from SUNY Albany with his Law Degree. With limited time together, we make large steps everyday towards improving and are looking forward to representing the USA,” said coach Emanuel Valentin.
“For a rowing organization, I feel like this is a homerun or the trifecta, of being able to get the current athletes into each of those world championship events,” said Catalano.
[Photos by Bill DiMinno]
SARATOGA SPRINGS – The 30th Annual Head of the Fish Regatta took place on Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 28 and 29 at Fish Creek. This regatta is one of the largest in the country.
Approximately 2,300 entries occurred this year, topping last year by at least two hundred more. The Saratoga Rowing Association (SRA) was successful both days. On Saturday, SRA finished fourth in race number 32, Men’s Junior U17 Single 1x; SRA placed first in race number 43, Women’s Masters Lightweight Double 2x. They also placed among the top 10 in several other races on Saturday. Highlights for Sunday include placing fourth in race number 58, Girls Middle School Coxed Quad (8th Grade and Under) 4x; fourth in race number 59, Men’s Junior Lightweight Eight (155 lbs and under); first in race number 60, Men’s Junior Freshmen Eight 8+; second in race number 63, Women’s Junior 2V Eight; first in race number 64, Women’s Junior 3V Eight. SRA also placed among the top five in several other races.
SRA is already gearing up for next years’ regattas. For more information, visit www.saratogarowing.com/sraregattas or call 518-587-6697. All results are posted on the website.
[Graphic provided by www.SaratogaRowing.com]
SARATOGA SPRINGS – On Saturday, Oct. 28 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday, Oct. 29 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. the Head of the Fish Regatta will be taking place at Fish Creek. Tom Frost founded this regatta in 1986 and it is now in its 31st year.
This year there are approximately 2,300 entries.
“No regatta in history has ever done that and we’re crazy enough to try it,” said Chris Chase, Regatta Director.
This year it is approximated that roughly eight to 10 thousand people will be in attendance and if the weather holds up, could be as many as 12 thousand people spectating.
On Saturday, all college and adult level races will be taking place, equaling about seven to eight thousand athletes with four thousand junior athletes on Sunday. Chase estimates about 180 teams total.
“Over the course of the weekend we will have 102 busses, which are large, 110 trailers, 130 food tents which are 15x20 feet, so once you start narrowing down all that space, it gets crazy,” said Chase.
Saratoga Rowing Association is currently negotiating more space with Lee’s Park owner Leo Nosal.
“We’ve grown almost every year I’ve been in charge, since 1998,” Chase said.
“Leo is outstanding with also trying to maintain the integrity of the campgrounds and accommodate us. He’s been awesome. We’ve grown every year and every time we grow there has been a growing pain and those pains are usually Leo’s pains because we ask for more. So it’s been great that he’s been so open-minded about doing that given his own obligations to his customers as well,” Chase explained.
While the regatta is expected to bring in thousands, Chase warns that “locals better get their restaurant reservations in now because lines will be massive come that weekend.”
Go to www.SaratogaRowing.com to check out the maps and schedule of the event on Oct. 28 and 29.
[Photos provided by Gloria Griskowitz]
SARATOGA SPRINGS — On Aug. 6 through 13 the Royal Canadian Henley Regatta (RCHR) took place in Ontario, Canada.
The Saratoga Rowing Association (SRA) traveled to Ontario to participate with both women and men athletes, ranging in age from 14 to 23 years old.
“The RCHR is hailed as a top amateur rowing event in North America. Each year they welcome international competitors and visitors from across Canada, the US, Europe, Africa, Australia and Latin America. This year, the 135th Annual RCHR event brought in over 2800 participants,” according to the SRA press release.
Of 32 events entered by SRA, they won 12 heats, won three semi-finals, seven boats were in the top three finishers in the finals, and two boats won their finals earning a coveted RCHR Gold Medal.
“While the team performed well from top to bottom, and we placed many crews into the finals of many events, the big win for 2017 was the fact that the boat team won their first gold medal at this prestigious event. They raced against 63 crews from places as far away as Florida, California, Calgary, and China,” said SRA Executive Director Eric Catalano.
The Regatta only hands out gold medals, which is different from many other Regattas.
When asked why this Regatta only hands out gold medals, Catalano said: “They believe that every boat that makes it to a final is worthy of a medal, so they feel that gold is the only medal to be awarded. There is also uniqueness about the RCHR and the fact that you need to actually win to take home a Henley medal. This year’s medals were also a one-off unique, made for the 135th anniversary of the RCHR.”
“Winning a Henley gold medal is incredibly prestigious and difficult. It is cause for big celebration at SRA every time one of our boats ends up on the podium,” Catalano explained.
As with all team travel, the athletes were self-funded.
“SRA hires buses or vans and books hotel rooms for the entire team and then divides the costs amongst all the attendees. We only fundraise for extreme events like our trip to Australia in 2013,” said Catalano.
The Royal Canadian Henley is an annual event for the Saratoga Rowing Association and is the highlight Regatta of their summer season.
SARATOGA SPRINGS – Though shortened by weather conditions, Saratoga Rowing Association (SRA) dominated the medal count at 2016 New York State Scholastic Rowing Association Championships on Saturday, May 14 and Sunday, May 15 on Fish Creek.
- 20 Championship Medals in side-by-side competition
- 11 additional medals based on earlier time trials (due to weather cancelling side-by-side heats)
- 31 medals total
- SRA first-place finishes:
- Sprint Racing: - Womens Freshmen Quad - Final 1
- Mens Freshmen Eight - Final 1
- Womens Varsity Pair - Final 1
- Womens Varsity Single - Final 1
- Womens Varsity Single - Final 2
- Mens Varsity Single - Final 1
- Mens Varsity Single - Final 2
- Womens Freshmen Eight - Final 1
- Mens Freshmen Quad – Final 1
- Womens Varsity Eight - Final 1
- Womens Lightweight Eight - Final 1
- Womens Juniors Four - Final 1
- Womens 2V Eight - Final 1
- Mens Juniors Quad - Final 1
- Mens Lightweight. Quad - Final 1
- Womens Varsity Quad - Final 1
- Womens Lightweight Quad - Final 1
- Womens Juniors Quad - Final 1
- Womens Juniors Double – Final 1
- Mens Lightweight Eight - Final 1
- Time Trials: - Womens Freshman Quad
- Mens Freshman Eight
- Womens Jr Four
- Womens 2V Eight
- Womens Freshman Eight
- Mens Freshman Quad
In a word – unreal. Afterwards, SRA announced that they were sending 73 rowers who qualified at States to Nationals (SRAA National Championships) in Zanesville, Ohio next weekend, May 27 and 28.
You Are Now Encouraged To Play With Your Pints
SARATOGA SPRINGS – So, it was getting towards the end of the Saratoga Beer Summit, when I stumbled (not literally; well, maybe) into the smiling face of Kerri Tanner at a booth in the back. I took one look at her products, and had to tell her:
“I hate you. This was my idea.”
The shocked look on her face was quickly replaced by another smile and a knowing nod. Apparently, this was not the first time she heard something similar.
Well, it says here that Kerri and Robin Morgan better get used to similar reactions and also a lot of delight. They took a simple idea and took it out four new flavor doors— with more to come.
Behold Brew Salt. A homegrown product (manufactured in small batches) with unlimited potential. Available in lime, habanero, chocolate and bacon flavors. An idea refined from your Uncle Vito at the Elks Lodge putting table salt in his Genny Cream Ale, combined with the growing love of all things craft brewing, Brew Salt stands poised to add zingy exclamation points to pints from coast to coast.
The difference between Brew Salt and the shaker at your local sports bar or pub starts with the base ingredients “We use high-quality grey Celtic sea salt,” Robin notes, “which is mineral-rich. From there, the flavors are added, which is Kerri’s department- she’s the chef.” It’s all vegan (yes, even the bacon), high quality and gluten-free.
Indeed, the skillsets of these two local entrepreneurs are perfectly balanced. Robin is a free-lance marketer; Kerri is the foodie/recipe specialist. They met three years ago by happenstance when Robin moved to the area and made a random hair appointment. By the time the rinse and blow-dry was done, a partnership was born. Their respective partners supplement them handily: Patrick McGowin and James Morgan provide beer acumen and financial expertise. Or vice versa, and perhaps on occasion, both.
“We went e-commerce (see: www.brewsalt.com) and vending at big events like the beer summit, but now in a relatively short period of time (the site was launched just this year) we are looking around at a larger kitchen just to meet current demand.” Robin said.
In the meantime, the team is making PR visits to taverns and retail establishments locally. A major perk of the job – every day is TGIF in their world
So it should be no surprise to soon see the Brew Salt shakers, with their distinctive bowler and handlebar moustaches on the shelves of discerning specialty stores, or adjacent to the Bloody Mary condiments on the finest bars.
The effervescence of Kerri and Robin matches the effervescence of their product in your glass. So, a tout to those in a position to say yes to such things from your friendly food editor: Get Shakin’!
Recommended Brew Salt Beer Parings:
IPA's: Bacon, Habanero or Lime
Porters / Stouts: Chocolate or Bacon
Lagers / Pilsners: Bacon, Habanero or Lime
Nut Brown: Chocolate
Or: Mix it up!
SARATOGA SPRINGS – Beginning next Tuesday, February 18 the suds will be flowing throughout town as the Third Annual Saratoga Beer Week takes hold.
Todd Garofano, President of the Saratoga Convention & Tourism Bureau observed, “Saratoga Beer Week has quickly grown into one of Saratoga’s signature events. Having expended already to accommodate the growing crowds and participants from its first year in 2012, this year’s incarnation promises to build on that success. We expect more visitors filling hotel rooms, spending time in our shops and restaurants and enjoying the amazing variety of craft beers in the many venues Saratoga has to offer.”
A complete schedule of events appears online at saratogabeerweek.com. The event week all leads up to Saturday’s Saratoga Beer Summit at the Saratoga Springs City Center, with anticipated crowds so large that admission has been broken into two sessions: 1 to 4 p.m. and 5 to 8 p.m. During each of these 3-hour sessions you have the opportunity to sample over 150 different beers from over 80 American craft breweries, plus enjoy food samples and live music.
It all begins on Tuesday at 5 p.m. at Olde Saratoga Brewing Company at 161 Excelsior Avenue. This ‘Beer and Barbeque Bash’ kicks off a full slate of Olde Saratoga’s activities, which will see them take it on the road around town to venues like the Local on Beekman Street, Maestros and The Stadium on Broadway, The Olde Bryan Inn and Uno’s on Route 50. Some of these promotions, in the spirit of good cheer, will be in conjunction with other regional brewers such as Adirondack in Lake George and Brown’s in Troy.
The two Stadium Cafés each have their own promotions this week. At the Westside location, they will feature a special “Slides and Suds” promotion throughout Beer Week, which features four types of sliders with four different crafted beers selected by the Craft Brew Alliance.
Local craft brewers Druthers (381 Broadway), as expected, have a full slate of activities and events, including a brewery tour on Thursday, February 20 at 4 p.m.
Two music events of note precede the Beer Summit at the City Center. On Thursday evening at 7 p.m., fresh off their headlining gig at First Night, are Beatles tribute band Hey Jude.
On Friday at 7 p.m. the nationally acclaimed Irish band Black 47 will take the stage. This is extra notable as the band has announced that they will be disbanding this November after 25 years touring worldwide together.
As always, there are incentives for early ticket buyers to many events. You can avoid any day-of-event increases and order tickets online at saratogabeerweek.com