The Berkeley High girls crew season ended in triumphant fashion this past weekend, as the steadily improving varsity-8 boat took home an unprecedented sixth at the state championship meet at Lake Natoma in Rancho Cordova.
The impressive finish stood as a marked improvement over last year, when the ’Jackets failed to qualify for the finals. Featuring four seniors – Sara Appelbaum, Ananda Chou, Juliet Bonczkowski and Anna Wolfe – the varsity-8 crew parlayed two months’ worth of progress into what Berkeley High coach Molly Mugnolo considered its best performance all season.
“That’s a big improvement for the varsity-8. I think they rowed their fastest race this weekend,” said Mugnolo, who initially worried about her girls’ ability to adapt to the much hotter weather at Lake Natoma. “In spite of the sweltering heat, they did a great job.”
Berkeley High, which entered crews in several events, garnered its only medal of the day in the girls varsity pair event, as sisters Juliet and Veronica Bonczkowski combined to take the bronze. The Berkeley High boys varsity-8 failed to qualify for the final day of competition, after placing fifth out of six boats in its preliminary heat on Saturday afternoon.
“This was my goal for this year,” Mugnolo said about the girls’ results. “Berkeley High hasn’t done this well for a few years.”