POUGHKEEPSIE – The NFA Varsity Crew team competed in the first regatta of the season, the W.A.R.S Regatta in Poughkeepsie. Although the team had only been on the water a few times before this event, they had been working hard long before team try-outs even began.
Under the direction of head coach, Keith Schafer and assistant coach George Crisci, rowers interested in being on the team participated in fitness training twice a week after school since January. When try-outs arrived, the room was bursting with prospective rowers, a parent volunteer coach, Kathie Mills and a new assistant coach, Brittany Bonesteel. Coaches Mills and Bonesteel were well received by the rowers and they quickly grew fond of the rowers.
On April 3, tragedy struck the team when Coach Bonesteel was in a horrific head-on collision on Route 17K while traveling to work. She was recently released from the hospital and is now in rehabilitation. Her road to recovery will be a long one, but she is courageous and strong and the NFA Varsity Crew team is behind her all the way. They send her cards and video updates of their practices whenever possible and are with her in spirit. The team is determined to make her proud this season and were thrilled that she sent them well wishes before the regatta began. A gofundme page has been set up on Coach Bonesteel’s behalf by Temple Hill School, where she teaches social studies, to help defray her medical costs. If you would like to donate to the cause, please visit gofundme.com and search Brittany Bonesteel-Miranda’s Sunshine Fund.
The NFA Varsity Crew team has faced many challenges in recent years beginning in 2012 when they were defunded by the district. The tide for this team seems to be turning. Coach Schafer has worked diligently behind the scenes to secure grants and donations and his hard work has paid off.
The team was able to purchase 20 new Concept 2 ergs which help out tremendously during practices and a new Vespoli 8+ crew shell with the help of a generous donation. The NFA Varsity Girls’ 8+ christened the new Vespoli, adequately named Lady Goldback, as they glided effortlessly through the Hudson to come in 2nd place in their flight against Warwick, Rhinebeck and Suffern with a time of 6:42.69. Samantha Santiago, one of the Captains of the Girls’ crew team and a senior member of the winning boat summed up her feelings when she said, “I’m excited to start my final season with the NFA Crew team. I wanted to finish off my career strong with my best friends and it’s even better now that we have a brand new boat to win in. Despite our devastation when we found out that Coach Bonesteel would no longer be able to coach us,we are all determined to win as many races as possible for her this spring.”
When asked about the team, Coach Schafer replied, “The team is working diligently toward a successful season. As we increase our water training through the season, our skills will improve. I look forward to watching all of our crews compete against our Hudson Valley Rowing League competitors, our defending of the Orange/Ulster Championship Trophy and how our team will compare against the others attending the NYSSRA Championship in Saratoga Springs.” Coach Schafer has plans to take several boats up to the 2017 NYSSRA Championship next month and that means hard work, determination, and lots of fundraising to cover the estimated $6,000 it will cost for this championship.