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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

With a general discontent about the view-blocking pedestrian railings recently installed along West Shore Road, the discussion at the Oyster Bay Civic Association meeting on Sept. 18 focused on the possibility of having the road designated as a scenic highway.

This concept was suggested by Gregory Druhak of Centre Island, a regular traveler along West Shore Road, who said, “I believe this is the most scenic drive on Long Island west of the Hamptons, perhaps on all of Long Island itself, and it is not being treated as such. I feel we are being given the Lefferts Boulevard [down by JFK airport] expressway extension instead. For all you can see, it might as well be the Belt Parkway below the fence instead of Oyster Bay. This is wrong.”  

This year you can expect to see the Freedom Schooner Amistad, Connecticut’s flagship, tied up on the Western Waterfront Pier at the Oyster Festival on Oct. 18 and 19. The ship is a Baltimore Clipper that is 129 feet in length and weighs 96 tons. Its home port is New Haven, Conn.

The tall ship visits ports worldwide, as an ambassador for friendship. It serves as a floating classroom, icon and monument to many souls that were broken or lost as the result of the transatlantic slave trade.

The original Amistad, which means friendship in Spanish, was made famous in 1839 when 53 African captives (men, women and children) transported from Havana revolted against their captors. The captives gained control of the ship under the leadership of Sengbe Pieh, later known as Joseph Cinque, who commanded the ship’s navigator to return them to Sierra Leone. Instead, the ship headed north, landing in Long Island, and was taken into custody by the United States Navy.


Sports

The Falcon Pride Athletic Booster Club and a generous group of alumni have hit one out of the park with their assistance in upgrading the high school softball field.

Throughout the process, former and current Falcon softball players worked together for a good cause.

5- and 6-year-old Peanuts:

The Peanuts hosted the Uniondale Knights. It was hard fought battle and the Generals gave their all. Terrific performances by JR Hill, Joseph Travaglia and Kody Gehnrich The defense played strong. The Peanuts are working hard and the results are paying off.

7- and 8-year-old Midgets:

The 7- and 8-year-old team did battle with the Floral Park Titans. In a tough battle, the Generals’ offense was powered by a big offensive line led by Declan Trainor, Joseph Gotti, Owen Parlante and Jake Hargrave. In an impressive hurry-up offense, the General’s Jayden Marshall scored a last second touchdown to end the first half.


Calendar

Plein Art Exhibit

Wednesday, Oct. 1

College Discussion

Monday, Oct. 6

Collecting Manuscripts

Thursday, Oct. 9



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