Monday, May 15, 2023



On Sunday -7-May two Bogota NJ Residents, Ms. Maryam Ali and Mr. Lukas Dolak won gold medals in Philadelphia PA.  at The City Championship Regatta by the Philadelphia Scholastic Rowing Association.  This association is the largest high school rowing league in the nation. Both Ms. Ali and Mr. Dolak learned to row through the Bergen County Rowing Association (BCRA) this located in Ridgefield Park section Overpeck County Park.
BCRA started in 2014 and is led by Head Coach Mr.  Clemens Reinke and Assistant Coach Ms.  Myrna Gotrell. Coach Clemens started his rowing career over 50 years ago in Germany, and has received many gold medals and awards during his career abroad and in the US.  Coach Myrna, who graduated herself from Hackensack High School, is the advisor to the Hackensack High School Crew Team founded in 2018.  Together they run and teach at the BCRA.
   Ms. Ali is a 14 year old who has lived in Bogota for 12 years and attends the Academy of Greatness and Excellence (AGE) in Ridgefield Park.  In 2020, during COVID, she was searching for a sport that was safe to participate in and would feed her competitive nature. Ms. Ali said she immediately fell in love with rowing after a 6 week learn to row at BCRA.  The calmness of the water, the challenging workout, and the elegance of the sport had her hooked.  Now, over 2 years later, she is dedicated to the sport and growing the sport in her own school by starting a rowing club at her age. During this 2023 Spring Season, Ms. Ali has brought home 3 gold medals in the past few weeks. 1 gold medal in the Women’s Junior Single Category at the Garden State Championship, and most recently the gold medal at the Women’s Freshman Novice at the City Championship.  Along with winning gold medals for BCRA rowing in a U17 4x with 3 other teammates at the Garden State Championship. Ms. Ali enjoys the comradery at BCRA and looks forward to growing her rowing experience and continued competition.  She hopes to one day row for a D1 college rowing team. 
  Mr. Dolak is a 15-year-old freshman who started rowing competitively last fall with BCRA.  He chose the sport because it challenges him both physically and mentally.  It requires endurance and strength, but also a considerable amount of mental power and ability to push yourself well beyond your limits.  Mr. Dolak was aided by Bogota High School Athletic Director Mr. Brad DiRupo, and Wrestling Coach Mr. Pat Clark who arranged for him to use an older Wrestling Singlet in competition.  This allows him to wear the Bucs logo in front of other schools. 
Mr. Dolak is hoping to start a rowing club for Bogota High School to introduce his peers to rowing and broaden the selection of sports at his high school.  This 2023 Spring season, he has won 2 gold medals, 1 at the Cooper Cup winning in the U17 4x category, and 1 at this past City Championship as a Novice Single.  Along with a bronze at the Men’s Jr Garden State Championship. Mr. Dolak is hoping to take his rowing to the next level by rowing in college where he can continue pushing himself further. 
 Both Families are very proud of their local Students and hope their complements will encourage the growth of the sport, throughout Bergen County. 
For more information about the Bergen County Rowing Association please visit their website at:

                  additional photos and story information courtesy of Ms. Jenna Makkaoui

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