Marc My Words!

 Sports columnist Marc Maturo’s official column

            Stroke after stroke, Kraushaar rows into collegiate ranks

            If she had her way Gaby Kraushaar of New City would probably row to Washington, D.C., she is so excited about her upcoming freshman season on the crew team at George Washington University.

The Clarkstown North HS graduate, who took up the sport as a sophomore following three years as a varsity cheerleader, has been training six days each week at the Jewish Community Center of Rockland in West Nyack – concentrating on the ergometer, biking and running, all cardio-related exercises central to the sport of rowing.

All smiles at NYS Eastern Championships
All smiles at NYS Eastern Championships

Two summers ago Kraushaar also completed a training program in Tampa, Fla., run by GWU, where she met coach Eric Carcich  and several teammates. She is rearing to row into action on a top collegiate level.

“I’m excited,” bubbled Kraushaar, who as a seventh- and eighth-grader was a level-9 gymnast at Galaxy Gymnastics in Orangeburg. “The program at GW is growing and growing. We missed the NCAA (championships) last year, but we finished second in the A-10 (Atlantic-10). I think we can do it this year, and make it to NCAA.”

Kraushaar, whose sister Julia followed her into the sport as a freshman and also plays field hockey at Clarkstown North, was introduced to crew by a close friend and coxswain, Christina Popowytsch (now a junior coxswain at Marist College in Poughkeepsie).

“I took it up spontaneously and fell in love with it,” recalls Kraushaar. “When I first went out I fell in love with it. “

Hard at work on the water
Hard at work on the water

Kraushaar said the love affair, of sorts, revolves around the serenity on the water.

“It’s definitely a different dynamic (than cheerleading) on the water,” she said. “Your teammates become your best friends … you have all the power in the world, pushing your legs and igniting like fire.”

The fire was definitely lit in 2012 when Clarkstown’s combined team won the state Eastern Championship in Newburgh in 2012. This year Clarkstown finished second in defense of the crown.

As she moves up in competition, Kraushaar knows that it will be very intense at GWU, having learned that firsthand following a battery of tests, including blood tests, sickle cell, “thousands of forms.

“It’s a lot of work, but worth it at the end.”

Competing on the Potomac, where practices take place near Georgetown University, offered Kraushaar a priceless view of the area.

“It was unreal,” said Kraushaar, who mans the stroke position and recognizes that to be successful everyone on the boat must row in harmony. “It’s the most beautiful water in the word – the Washington Monument, Reagan Airport. I can’t wait to get going.”

The Colonials are slated to get going on Sept. 29, competing in the Head of the Potomac. The schedule leading up to the NCCA Championships at Indianapolis, Ind., May 23-25, includes trips to Boston, Princeton, N.J., Woodbridge, Va., Tampa, Fla., Camden, N.J., and Oak Ridge, Tenn.

Pat Pierson swings away
Pat Pierson swings away

PAT PIERSON PUSHES ON

            Pat Pierson of  Nyack, a member and 12-time club champion at Minisceongo Golf Club in Pomona, finished in a tie for second place in the recent Rockland County Amateur Championship at Spook Rock Golf Course in Suffern.

Pierson, 49, was stung by a bee on the opening day, played with a swollen foot and, despite finishing just four strokes back of 27-year-old Brooklyn law student Ryan Hom, felt he did not play at his best.

“The foot swelled up after I was stung and (I) kept playing, but even though I finished second I didn’t play particularly well,” said the Verizon Wireless engineer who learned the game from his dad and only coach, Hall of Famer Howie Pierson, but did not play seriously until being graduated from St. Thomas Aquinas College in 1988.

“I played a lot of basketball as a kid, at Nyack High School, but we didn’t have a golf team at the time at STAC,” notes Pierson the Younger, who stuck with basketball in college and helped the Spartans advance to the national tournament.

Pierson, however, would soon conquer the golf course, too, and performed well enough to compete in three U.S. Amateur tournaments and four U.S. Mid-Amateur championships.

“I got to match play before losing,” said Pierson, who goes to the well once again on Sept. 4 at the U.S. Mid-Amateur qualifier at Arcola Country Club in nearby Paramus, N.J.

The U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship will be held Oct. 2-6 at the Country Club of Birmingham in Birmingham, Ala.

LONG IN THE LINEUP

In our recent report on the Pearl River Little League 12-year-old all-star team, which enjoyed a banner season and finished third at the state tournament after winning the Section 4 championship, Jeffrey Long’s name was inadvertently omitted from the lineup.

Coach Mike McKee, who works alongside Kiernan Creighton and manager Jay Flaherty, was good enough to indicate that Long, a shortstop, provided a potent right-handed bat.

COLLEGIATE CORNER

Shannon Misiaszek
Shannon Misiaszek

SHANNON MISIASZEK, a former four-year starting goalkeeper on the Fordham University women’s soccer team, has returned to the Rams for her second stint as a volunteer coach in charge of goalkeepers.

Misiaszek, a chemistry teacher and JV coach at Pearl River HS, previously served as a goalkeeper coach for Fordham in 2006. She still holds most of the Fordham goalkeeping records, and previously coached at Manhattanville College in Purchase, helping in every aspect of the program and assisting in the development of  the Valiants’ lone all-conference selection in 2005, goalkeeper Michele Ribeiro.

The Rams are on the road for their next two games, visiting intra-city rivals Manhattan College in Riverdale at 7 p.m. on Aug. 23 and St. John’s University in Jamaica at 1 p.m. on Aug. 25.

THE NORTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY men’s soccer team, including senior defenseman Conner Alexander of Blauvelt, played to a 3-3 exhibition draw against Boston College at Newton Campus Field.

The Huskies will be back in action on Aug. 24 at 5 p.m. when they host New Hampshire in the team’s  final exhibition match before the regular season opener on Aug. 30 against Elon, also scheduled at 5 p.m.

SARAH ADLER of Suffern is a freshman forward on the field hockey team at Northeastern University, which ends its preseason on Aug. 24 against Albany. The Huskies open the regular season against Monmouth on Aug. 30 at 6 p.m. at the team’s new facility in Dedham, Mass.

SCHOLASTIC SCENE

    TREVOR POLLACK  of Blauvelt, a star midfielder in lacrosse at Tappan Zee HS, has verbally committed to Mount Saint Mary University in Emmittsburg, Md., where he will join a major Division I program. It was reported that Pollack, whose sister Jacqueline Pollack is a distance runner at Boston College, also considered Wagner College on Staten Island and Nazareth  College in suburban Rochester.

     JAMES AMANDOLA, a director of youth lacrosse at Tappan Zee HS, recently received a Hall of Fame award at Manhattan College, becoming the first player to be inducted in men’s lacrosse at the college.

An outstanding goalie, James led division I in save percentage in his senior year, was a three-time Manhattan College MVP, a MAAC tournament MVP, and defensive player of the year.

Amandola is a Social Studies Teacher at South Orangetown Middle School.

         KEN ROSE, director of North Rockland Youth Lacrosse and also the offensive coordinator for the Section 1 finalist North Rockland HS varsity squad, previously guided Manhattan College to an NCAA tournament berth as an assistant coach.                    Rose was a 100-point scorer at Manhattan College, made the MAAC all-tournament team, and was integral to the growth of the program.

A physical education teacher at Haverstraw elementary school, Rose also has coached basketball for 12 years.

THIS & THAT

     DUTCHMEN FLAG FOOTBALL – a non-contact league for students entering grades three through eight – is open to students in all school districts. Play is scheduled to begin Sept. 7 and run through Nov. 2, at Cottage Lane Elementary in Blauvelt.

One practice per week is on tap, teaching fundamentals including stance, ball-handling, passing, receiving, kicking and punting.

For information email: dutchmenflagfootball@gmail.com.

DATES TO NOTE

    September 18:  Annual Steve Drummond Memorial Scholarship Fund’s Challenger Little League Golf Tourney will be held at Spook Rock Golf Course in Suffern with a shotgun start at 1 p.m. Lunch at noon, followed by cocktails (5:30 p.m.) and dinner (6:30 p.m.). For information, contact Laurie Rindskopf at 845-627-5250 or lhr2124@optonline.net

    September 19: Annual Pearl River Rotary Ed Bouton Memorial Golf Outing (Scramble Format) at Blue Hill Golf Course in Pearl River beginning at noon. The outing also includes lunch (Emmett’s Castle) and dinner (Old Tappan Manor). Contact Jim Shepard for information at 845-735-6259 or jshepard@optonline.net

October 13:  Second annual Mickey Sullivan Memorial Duathlon will be held at the Pearl River Middle School. All proceeds will go towards Team KJ and their fight against Huntington’s Disease.

October 13: Plans are under way for a gathering of the Rockland County Sports Community to pay tribute to Jimmy & Eleanor Kane. They will be retiring after spending 70 years! of service to Rockland athletics. The informal barbeque will be held at Kennelly’s Grill House (Outdoor Pavilion) in Congers from 2:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.