Indoor rowing event Mohawk Meltdown is back after 2 years hiatus – The Daily Gazette

NISKAYUNA — As Niskayuna High School sophomore Rebecca Schmidt pulled the handle of the rower, her body moving back and forth, her sister — senior Heather Schmidt — sat in a chair just behind the erg rower for the ‘to encourage.

On a screen behind the eight participating girls, all under the age of 17, was a large screen showing where each girl’s boat was in the 1,500 meter race.

It was part of the Mohawk Meltdown on Saturday afternoon at Niskayuna High School, where about 100 people competed in different categories.

It’s the first time in two years the competition has taken place due to the COVID-19 pandemic, said Scott Meade, who started the event in 2014 with David Buckner.

Meade said he helped start the race because “there wasn’t really good local racing in the winter.”

With a time of five minutes, 26.8 seconds, Schmidt was declared the winner.

It was a relief to finish the race, said Schmidt, who just completed a college basketball season and won the 2022 U.S. National Indoor Rowing Championship for the under-17 division.

“I achieved my goal,” she said.

But it’s no surprise that Schmidt won, racing runs in the family.

Schmidt’s brother, James Schmidt, is rowing for Drexel University Division I and competing in the Lake Las Vegas Collegiate Invitational in Nevada this weekend. Rebecca Schmidt also has her older sister to look up to. Heather Schmidt placed sixth at the 2021 World Rowing Junior Championships in Bulgaria. She will be at Stanford next year.

However, Heather Schmidt decided not to compete on Saturday afternoon after finishing the women’s college basketball season, where she played alongside her younger sister.

“I didn’t have time to train for this,” Heather Schmidt said.

But, Rebecca Schmidt was happy to have her sister there for her.

“She knows what to say,” said Rebecca Schmidt.

While Rebecca Schmidt won on Saturday, she also said there was room for growth.

“I really need to slow my pace down and keep it steady throughout the race,” she said, noting that she started fast but it could tire her more quickly.

Niskayuna rowing coach Stacey Apfelbaum was pleased with the performance of the rowers on Saturday afternoon.

“I was really impressed with our girls today,” she said.

She said the team will continue to work to become stronger and more technically competent heading into the upcoming season.

“Our seniors have a title to defend and are looking forward to it,” Apfelbaum said.

Athletes from other parts of the Capital Region also took part in the race, including Brooke Parisi, who is part of Shenendehowa’s crew and was about 20 seconds behind Rebecca Schmidt, with a time of 5:47 ,7.

“My stomach hurts, I was screaming so loud,” Parisi’s father Frank Parisi said.

Parisi’s father and mother, Audrey Parisi, attended the event to watch their daughter and were thrilled to see her come in second. Audrey Parisi said her daughter was slightly nervous before the start of the race.

“I was nervous because all the girls look competitive,” Brooke Parisi said.

She said she couldn’t remember anything that came to mind as she focused on the race and Sophia Ventosa helping her keep pace.

At the end of the race, Brooke Parisi said she felt tired but proud.

“I can put in more work because I know how competitive I have to be now,” she said.

Rowing is also practiced in the Parisi family, with his sister Gabriella Parisi leaving for the University of Kansas in the fall. Frank Parisi wore a Jayhawks sweatshirt as he stared at Brooke.

“I’m a proud dad,” he said of his two daughters.

Brooke Parisi’s coach, Dave Clayman, was also pleased with Saturday’s result.

“Brooke did a good job,” he said. “She showed great mental strength.”

Meade was thrilled to see the indoor rowing event repeat itself after two years. In 2019, there were 400 attendees, and Meade said he expects the numbers to continue to grow until the pandemic hits. Now he just wants to put the event back on everyone’s radar.

The hope is that next year they can hold the event and have grandstands full of parents cheering on the attendees.

Journalist Shenandoah Brière can be reached at [email protected].

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Categories: Schenectady County, Your Niskayuna

Joseph K. Bennett