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All High Regatta cements bonds

Melissa Brawdy

The boys of the West Side Rowing Club varsity four took different paths to get to where they are now, but as they finished their season – for senior John Saunders, his career – with Monday’s All-High Regatta, each one said that there was no one else with whom he’d rather share a boat.

“Today was the best All High event I’ve ever had,” Saunders said. “I’ve never gotten a medal here, and I got two golds, and I got to do it with my favorite people. I’d be more willing to lose with these guys than win with anyone else.”

Saunders, a senior at Olmsted, was joined by Caelan Schneck of Bishop Timon-St. Jude, Joe Brown of Williamsville East and Alex Gaughan of Buffalo Academy of Scholars.

Saunders’ brother introduced him to rowing at a young age. Schneck started at the Buffalo Scholastic Rowing Association, but it was the brotherhood of West Side that prompted his decision to move.

“This is my first season with the club, and I can say it was the best season I ever had,” Schneck said. “I’m glad I could row with these three other guys, and it’s a privilege to row with them.”

Brown was a competitive swimmer until the 2012 Olympics gave him a new appreciation for rowing. Gaughan has been at West Side since the novice level, but he echoed his teammates’ sentiments that this season has been the most enjoyable.

“You kind of become brothers,” Gaughan said. “You know each other really well, and when you row in boats, it just feels amazing because you’re with people you really like.”

At Monday’s Regatta, the team raced as separate doubles teams before a quad race. Schneck and Saunders won the doubles with Brown and Gaughan finishing third, and together won the varsity fours.

“The double was awesome but the quad was amazing,” Brown said. “I knew it was my boy John Saunders’ last spring race, so I was doing it for Saunders.”

This prompted a hug from Saunders.

Saunders’ love for his West Side teammates is something he believes will last.

“This season has brought out the character that I think I’m gonna live with through the rest of my life,” Saunders said. “I got a real learning of what real love is and how to build that into the team.”

His teammates have embraced that loving and selfless attitude as well.

“It’s not about doing it for yourself; it’s about doing it for the other boys in your boat,” Brown said. “As long as you prove your worth and you pull your weight, you could take this as far as you want.”

“Everyone shares in the same pain that you’re feeling at that moment,” said Schneck. “You’re focusing on finishing with them, and you’re all just one big family in the boat.”

“It’s just being open and you row and you can tell each other anything you need to and it wouldn’t be a problem,” added Gaughan.

Saunders expressed his thankfulness for his teammates and rowing overall, and he’s not sure where he’d be without the sport he loves so much.

“I don’t think I’d be as happy in life as I am today without rowing, and I’ve definitely made some of the best friendships I have in this boathouse, and it’s probably been the most helpful thing for me mentally and physically.”

All High Results

at Black Rock Canal

Boys Lightweight Fours

1st: Canisius A 5:50.6

2nd: Canisius B 5:59.3

3rd: Nichols 6:04.9

Girls Lightweight Fours

1st: Nichols 6:19.28

2nd: Nardin 6:36.06

3rd: Mount St. Mary 6:50.03

4th: Buff Sem. 6:57.61

5th: West Side 6:59.38

Mens 1V Pairs

1st: West Side 5:56.48

2nd: Canisius 6:07.08

3rd: West Side B 6:09.51

Girls 1V Pairs

1st: Buffalo Schools 7:13.33

2nd: Mount St. Mary 7:31.63

Boys Freshman/Novice Fours-A

1st: Canisius A 6:59.45

2nd: St. Joe’s 7:10.68

3rd: City Honors 7:17.61

4th: Nichols 7:20.05

5th: West Side 7:25.42

Boys Freshman/Novice Fours-B

1st: St. Joe’s B 6:54.00

2nd: Canisius B 7:30.06

3rd: Canisius C 7:45.53

4th: Bishop Timon-St. Jude 8:29.08

Girls Freshman/ Novice Fours-A

1st: Mount St. Mary 7:55.95

2nd: Nichols 8:08.95

3rd: City Honors 8:14.85

4th: Nardin 9:01.17

Girls Freshman/ Novice Fours-B

1st: West Side 7:02.66

2nd: Mount St. Mary B 7:19.54

3rd: Buff Sem. 8:12.74

4th: Nardin B 8:49.51

Boys JV Eights

1st: Canisius 5:29.72

2nd: St. Joe’s 6:05.31

Girls JV Eights

1st: Nardin 6:50.22

2nd: Buffalo Schools 6:57.97

3rd: Buff Sem., 7:32.53

Boys Second Varsity Fours

1st: St. Joe’s

2nd: Nichols

3rd: City Honors

Girls Second Varsity Fours

1st: Nardin 7:27.12

2nd: Mount St. Mary 8:26.17

Boys Second Varsity Fours

1st: St. Joe’s 5:39.25

2nd: Nichols 5:42.64

3rd: Canisius 5:47.30

4th: City Honors 5:56.42

Girls Varsity Fours

1st: Nardin 6:13.61

2nd: Nichols 6:31.30

3rd: City Honors 6:37.39

4th: Mount St. Mary 7:41.84

5th: Buff Sem. 8:00.19

Boys Varsity Fours

1st: West Side 5:59.97

2nd: Canisius A 6:31.60

3rd: Canisius B 7:09.30

Boys/ Girls Mixed Novice Eights

1st: Nichols 7:37.41

2nd: City Honors 8:51.00

Boys Freshman/ Novice Eights

1st: St. Joe’s 5:51.57

2nd: Canisius A 6:07.85

3rd: City Honors 6:59.79

4th: Canisius B 7:18.32

5th: Timon 7:48.63

Girls Freshman/ Novice Eights-A

1st: Nardin 6:27.73

2nd: West Side 6:29.21

3rd: Mount St. Mary 7:25.65

4th: City Honors 7:47.60

Girls Freshman/ Novice Eights-B

1st: West Side B 6:59.93

2nd: Nardin B 7:38.82

3rd: Buffalo Schools 7:50.55

Boys JV Fours

1st: St. Joe’s 6:24.86

2nd: West Side 6:55.78

3rd: Timon 7:07.78

4th: Canisius 7:19.34

Girls JV Fours

1st: City Honors 6:28.47

2nd: Mount St. Mary 6:50.86

3rd: Nichols 7:09.32

4th: Buff Sem. 7:32.96

5th: Buffalo Schools 7:52.35

Boys 2V Eights

1st: Canisius 5:45.81

2nd: St. Joe’s 5:55.51

Girls 2V Eights

1st: Nardin 6:25.56

2nd: West Side A 6:44.02

3rd: West Side B 7:29.47

Men’s 1V Eights

1st: St. Joe’s 5:26.44

2nd: Canisius 5:48.72

3rd: Nichols 5:57.91

4th: City Honors 6:15.28

Women’s 1V Eights

1st: West Side 6:15.24

2nd: Nichols 6:20.26

3rd: Nardin 6:32.91

4th: City Honors 7:04.58

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