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Sagamore Rowing Celebrates 40 Years

Current and former Olympic champions

honored at anniversary party

The Sagamore Rowing Association (SRA) hosted a special evening of activities at the Brookville Country Club on Saturday, Jan. 5, in celebration of its 40th anniversary, an event that drew more than 130 people.

As part of the night’s activities, the association honored Bob Kaehler, Sagamore alumni, three-time Olympian and four-time World Champion, and Taylor Ritzel, U.S. Women’s 8+ 2012 Olympic Gold Medalist.

“We were truly excited to celebrate this very momentous occasion,” said Gunther Uthgennant, co-founder of SRA. “It has been an honor to have touched so many lives with a sport of a lifetime.”

Founded in 1972, the Sagamore Rowing Association has been responsible for training thousands of athletes and developing some of the top coaches in the tri-state area.  SRA’s activities include high school and college programs as well as master programs, both recreational and competitive.

Uthgennant is the only remaining founder of the club. He said that it began in a boathouse on Center Island Beach, with only a few people who loved the sport. The club then moved to Huntington and a second boathouse opened at Friends World College, and then moved back to Oyster Bay, on Beekman Beach, where it is today. He says that it currently has about 500 members, ranging from as young as 13 to older than 80. It is a nonprofit club run by volunteers.

During rowing season, members are training regularly. Uthgennant himself, at age 83, is out there four times a week. He began rowing with his family when he was young, and his love of the sport helped spark the creation of the rowing club.

Two races are held in Oyster Bay every year, in the spring and the fall, and Uthgennant says last June, there were 900 participants and about 3,000 spectators. Every year he says they have people rank at a national level.

 Some of Sagamore’s more notable alumni include Dave Collins, 1996 Olympic Bronze Medalist and National Team member in ‘93, ‘94 and ‘95; Jennie Gilder, member of the 1973 National Team; Scott McKee, a member of the 1985 National Team and former head rowing coach at Columbia; and Nancy Storrs, 1984 Olympic Gold Medalist.

 Uthgennant says one of the reasons for the club’s long-term success is that it is open to anyone who shows an interest. And he says, “Once they’re in, they’re hooked.”

In addition, Sagamore has been instrumental in the growth of rowing on Long Island, especially in the creation of high school and college programs, including Chaminade HS Crew, Cold Spring Harbor HS Crew, Friends Academy Crew, Hofstra University Crew, Huntington HS Crew, LIU Post Crew, Long Island Rowing Club, Our Lady of Mercy HS Crew, St. Anthony’s HS Crew and Crew Club Of Oyster Bay.

Uthgennant notes that rowing is a terrific form of exercise, and says, “Kids love the camaraderie, and they feel a sense of accomplishment.”

News

Our experience of 9/11 has changed; today it is seen as part of a journey and not an isolated event. On Wednesday, Sept. 10, President Barack Obama spoke to the nation saying the battle against terrorism is ongoing. 

 

That awareness that we had gone through the experience of the fall of the Twin Towers and had rebounded, but the danger is not over, and the battle is still to be won was repeated by Senator Carl Marcellino at the Day of Commemoration at the Oyster Bay 9/11 Memorial Garden on the Western Waterfront on Thursday evening.

“Visitation is up 300 percent,” said Harriet Gerard Clark, Raynham Hall Museum director.

“Two-thirds of them come because of reading the book by Brian Kilmeade, George Washington’s Secret Six: The Spy Ring That Saved The American Revolution, and seeing the series ‘Turn’ on A&E,” added Tom Valentine, docent, who keeps the list of visitors. Soon the series will include the story of Robert Townsend of Oyster Bay who was known as Culper, Jr. when he was a spy for George Washington.

Alex Sutherland, director of education, nailed his definition. “He was the most important spy for George Washington because he had the perfect cover. He was pretending to be a Loyalist and writing for a Loyalist newspaper and befriending British officers at his coffee shop in downtown New York while secretly collecting information.


Sports

Hard work paid off for local athletes Christine Grippo of Locust Valley, Kelly Pickard of Oyster Bay, Bernadette Winnubst of Locust Valley, Steven Quigley of Bayville, Catherine Soler of Oyster Bay, Maria Elinger of Oyster Bay, and Armand D’Amato of Oyster Bay Cove, each of whom won awards in a field of some of the best triathletes from all of Long Island and beyond in the 27th annual Runner’s Edge - Town of Oyster Bay Triathlon, held in and around Oyster Bay’s Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Park on Saturday morning, Aug. 23.

Grippo earned top honors in the women’s 30-34 age group with a time of 1 hour, 17 minutes, 36 seconds. Pickard (1:17:39) scored first among the women in the 35-39 age group. Winnubst scored in 1:38:48 to earn third place honors in the Masters Athena Weight Division. Quigley earned the second place award in the Masters Clydesdale Weight Division in 1:23:23. Soler (1:29:12) scored 5th among the women in the 20-24 age group. Ehlinger (1:39:23) was the 4th place award winner in the women’s 55-59 age group. D’Amato (1:42:44) earned top honors in the 70-74 age group.

Ice Dreams, an Olympic Ice Show starring 2014 Olympic Bronze Medalist Jason Brown and aspiring local skaters, is coming to Twin Rinks Ice Center at Eisenhower Park in East Meadow on Sept. 20.

Isabella Skvarla, 13, Julia Tauter, 12, and Chiara Vlacich, 12, all of Oyster Bay, Julia Forte, 12, of Locust Valley and Riley Stein, 11, of Bayville will be skating in the world class show to celebrate the opening of the best figure skating facility Long Island has ever seen.


Calendar

Art In A Meadow

Saturday, Sept. 13

Bayville Oktoberfest

Saturday, Sept. 13 - Sunday, Sept. 14

Hurricane Preparedness

Tuesday, Sept. 16



Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
Written by Mike Barry, MFBarry@optonline.net

Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com