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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

Last week was one of Oyster Bay’s biggest, most anticipated summer events, the Italian American Society’s St. Rocco’s Festival. Returning to its usually spot in Fireman’s Field on Shore Avenue, the festival was filled with amusement rides, live music, and great food and company.

“We come every year to St. Rocco’s with friends,” said Laura Regan of East Norwich. “The rides and awesome food make it a lot of fun.”

One of Oyster Bay’s newest summer traditions is Dancing in the Street, which takes place every Friday in July at the gazebo in town. Sponsored by the Oyster Bay Main Street Association, half of Audrey Avenue is closed off and a DJ is called in for a great night of community dancing from 7-9 p.m.

“This is a great tradition and a beautiful town,” said visitor Michaela Lachance from Cooperstown, NY. “Everyone is having a wonderful time.”


Sports

Oakcliff’s intensive training program provided a high level of competition last weekend at the U.S. Women’s Match Racing Championship in Oyster Bay.

This year, the teams selected for the event were highly ranked through the United States, and several of the competitors are past and current Oakcliff trainees, including Elizabeth Shaw, Kathryn Shiber, Madeline Gill, and Danielle Gallo.

A total of 11 members of St. Dominic Track Team (grades 1-8) recently medaled at the Nassau-Suffolk CYO Championship Finals at Mitchel Field. In the finals, the athletes competed against the finalists from all three regions, representing more than 2,500 athletes from 23 other parishes.

In addition to the student athletes’ success, the track coaches were honored as well. St. Dominic CYO Track coaches Phil Schade (grades 1-3), Julie and Mike Keffer (grades 4-6) and Rich Cameron (grades 7-8) were selected by peer coaches in their region for the NSCYO Team Sportsmanship Award. The Saint Dominic CYO track program, in its second year, has already proven to be a force to be reckoned with and the young runners are among the best on Long Island.


Calendar

OB Band Concerts

Wednesday, July 23

Music Under The Stars

Friday, July 25

Annual Chicken BBQ

Saturday, July 26



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