Rowing in the largest regatta in the world this fall was so important to Teresa Frappaolo that the Boston Latin senior has been pulling double duty on the school's girls' soccer and crew teams.
The Wolfpack, who had an eight-seat boat in the Head of the Charles last year, graduated most of its varsity rowers and struggled to field a boat for the Youth Fours at this weekend’s 48th annual regatta.
But they will be out there, lined up at 10:52 a.m. Sunday.
“I was offered to be in the boat for Head of the Charles because we needed people,” said Frappaolo Monday afternoon in a telephone interview while she was riding the bus to a soccer game. “I have always wanted to be in the Head of the Charles because it’s such a big deal but I haven’t been able to because of soccer. But we figured it out this year.
“People from all over the world are coming, it will be fun watching them row up the course when we’re on the course and vice versa.”
Varsity crew is a spring sport at Latin and a club sport in the fall. In fact, the Head of the Charles is the only race the team has in the fall -- if it is able to get a boat in the regatta. Aside from the top finishers from the previous year, all the other boats have to enter a blind lottery.
This is Latin’s second straight year winning the lottery.
“They say it’s pure luck,” said third-year coach Shayne Rowan. “I don’t know if it’s because we [have a boathouse] on the river and because we’re Boston Latin and are technically the oldest school on the river -- we beat Harvard by one year.
“I don’t know if they will always put us in because of that. We are pretty lucky we got in for two years in a row. Hopefully they’ll keep pulling our name. That would be awesome.”
Hannah Devlin and Diane Howat — the team’s coxswain who is also on the soccer team — are the only members of this year’s boat who have raced in the Head of the Charles.
“It was really exciting to be able to race in it because it’s such a prestigious regatta,” Devlin said. “It was definitely good for the team because it was such a good esteem booster. It was really fun.”
While three of the girls on the boat (Devlin, senior Julia Borges, and freshman Riley Mulry) have been practicing four days a week for the last month and a half, Frappaolo and Howat join the crew team mostly for weekend workouts.
“It is somewhat difficult,” said Devlin. “We have practices during the week, but a lot of that is just working on strength on land. We know the other girls are keeping in shape during soccer practice.
“I don’t think it’s holding us back that much because we have been getting together [on weekends] but it definitely could hold us back a little bit.”
The team didn’t do as well as it would’ve liked last year, however, finishing third to last in the Youth Eights.
But the team was encouraged by its first practice over the Charles’s famed meandering 5,000-meter course (most races are 2,000 meters). Last Saturday, the girls covered the course in about 24 minutes.
“It’s definitely been a challenge,” Frappaolo said of the practice schedule, “which is why it’s so exciting that it felt so good on Saturday when we did it. I guess we lucked out on it.”
But nothing will feel as good as racing Sunday, regardless of how the team finishes.
“I’m definitely not thinking about that,” Frappaolo said when asked if she’s worried about how the team will finish. “Especially because myself and our coxswain haven’t been doing crew training as much because of soccer.
“It will just be fun for the experience.”
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