Baldwinsville Sisters who grow together, row together.
For the first time in the Baldwinsville Girls Crew 12-year history, this year’s team consists of four sets of sisters — Amanda and Abby May, Erin and Kristen Mohr, Meredith and Morgan Starczewski, and Maria Teresa and Grace Bianchetti — and while some will be heading off to college in the fall, traditions live on with the younger sisters.
Crew, a sport many of the girls will attest gets into their blood, came to Baldwinsville in 2000 after Donna Dooley recognized her daughter’s passion for the sport. She rallied people to raise funds and lobbied the Board of Education to start the program, said Head Coach Christopher Ludden.
Money had to be raised to purchase equipment, which is extremely expensive, and those involved needed to convince the school to support the program.
“We have a devoted booster club to help purchase new equipment, as a new eight-oared shell costs about $32,000,” Ludden said.
More than a decade in, the amount of support for the team is overwhelming, but support comes in many forms, not just financially. After seeing how much their daughters enjoy rowing, some parents also take up the sport.
“Oftentimes parents will become involved rowing with the Syracuse Chargers and often keep on rowing after the girls graduate,” Ludden said.
As head coach, Ludden said he thinks it’s great having four sets of sisters on the team because it allows an entire family to become involved — parents become familiar with the sport and many lend a hand helping run things with the booster club.
“There is always a large learning curve for parents and having siblings row helps reduce that. Those parents with ‘repeat offenders’ are also great resources for the first time parents,” he said.
It’s important, though, to not compare sisters or skills as each girl has her own place on the team, and her own experiences to bring to the team and take away with her, Ludden added.