FALLS TOWNSHIP >> Pennsbury senior Ciara Devenuto-Wyeth tried competing in some typical sports before deciding on crew four years ago. For those who don’t know, that means rowing – as in on the river or the lake.
When she’s not finishing her senior year at Pennsbury High School, Devenuto-Wyeth competes for the Princeton National Rowing Association (PNRA) Mercer Rowing Club based at the Casperson Rowing Center on Mercer Lake in West Windsor, N.J.
“I love rowing. It’s such a great experience and it’s something that’s really unique,” said Devenuto-Wyeth. “It’s not a typical sport that people know.”
Along with six of her Falcon classmates who also committed to collegiate sports, Devenuto-Wyeth made her college choice – Jacksonville University – known Wednesday afternoon, Nov. 16 at Pennsbury High School West.
While it may not be a typical sport, Ciara quickly discovered that crew requires plenty of conditioning – a requirement of just about any varsity sport out there. To gain upper-body strength, Devenuto-Wyeth lifted weights and got herself going in cross-fit exercises. For endurance, she ran. For even more strength, she purchased a rowing machine and has been on it every day since.
Another thing she discovered is that crew is not a sport that comes without explanation.
“Most people don’t know what I’m talking about because they don’t know what crew is,” said Devenuto-Wyeth. “Then, I ask them if they’ve ever seen the long boats on the Schuylkill (River) and then they kind of know it but I usually wind up having to explain it a little bit more.”
Along with her pals at the Mercer Rowing Club, Ciara has competed on the iconic river in Philadelphia, racing competing boats in the Independence Day Regatta, the Philadelphia Youth Regatta and the Navy Day Regatta.
At Navy Day, she and her group finished in first place in the U-19, eight-woman, plus coxswain. Last year at Navy Day, the same group took the top prize in the women’s high school junior varsity eight with coxswain event.
Her rowing group recently finished fourth overall in the Royal Canadian Henley Regatta Saint Catherine’s Ontario.
Topping the list of the fall 2016 college commits was Falcons infielder Billy Bethel, who helped the team to a fifth-place finish in 2015 District 1-AAA Tournament and a berth in the PIAA quarterfinals that year. Filling in for a senior who quit the team five games into the season, Bethel hit .450 that season, helping the team to district playoff wins over Conestoga and Boyertown and a PIAA win over Hempfield.
Last season, he helped the team to a second place finish in the Suburban One National League and a third straight berth in districts. In the D-1 tourney, the Falcons went 1-1 with a win over Academy Park and a loss to district finalist Boyertown.
Bethel is headed to Chestnut Hill College to be reunited with his infield mate Zach Szumigala, who hit .255 with 21 runs scored and 13 RBIs for the Griffins last season.
Pennsbury announced five other college commits including swimmers Connor Doyle and Collin Hanlon along with diver Nicole Costello. Doyle is headed to Virginia Tech while Hanlon is going to Lehigh. The 2015 District 1 runner-up in diving, Costello is headed to UNC-Wilmington.
Additionally, cross country and track star Mary Webb is headed to the prestigious University of Pennsylvania and bowler Kellie Frain is going to Long Island University-Brooklyn.