Area crews win four medals in Stotesbury Cup sculling

by Tom Utescher
Posted 5/19/21

A year after being cancelled entirely, the Stotesbury Cup Regatta returned to the Schuylkill last weekend looking, in many ways, as it does in a normal year. The regular rows of tents were not in …

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Area crews win four medals in Stotesbury Cup sculling

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A year after being cancelled entirely, the Stotesbury Cup Regatta returned to the Schuylkill last weekend looking, in many ways, as it does in a normal year. The regular rows of tents were not in evidence and crowds were discouraged from massing in any one location, but the event drew high school crews from around the country, as usual.

This made for stiff competition for the sculling schools in the area, Germantown Academy, Germantown Friends, Penn Charter, and Springside Chestnut Hill Academy. Out of the combined 35 boats from the four schools that started out on Friday, only six reached the regatta finals on Saturday afternoon, four winning medals.

The boys in Penn Charter's freshman quad claimed a silver medal, and bronze discs were bestowed upon the girls' junior (JV) quad from SCH and a pair of boats powered by GFS girls, the freshman quad and the senior double.

The regatta started a little before noon on Friday morning with time trials. In the smaller categories the six boats with the fastest times went straight through to a Saturday afternoon final, while events with more entries sent the 12 fastest crews into a semifinal round.

If you weren't in those top groups, your weekend was over, and that's the fate that befell a number of local scullers, some of whom were novices who were bumped up to "junior" (JV) events where most of their rivals were older and more experienced.

Germantown Friends weathered the trials pretty well, with five of the eight boats it entered earning the right to keep on racing. Springside Chestnut Hill qualified five of its 10 entries, Germantown Academy three of its eight, and Penn Charter three out of nine.

Just after noon, the GFS boys' junior double (Aden Solomon, Aidan Cusack) reached the semi's when their time ranked them 11th in a 12-boat cut. An eighth-place showing allowed the Tigers' girls' lightweight double (Maria Ramos, Norah Lee) to follow the same path.

The boys' vessel for GFS in this category has performed well throughout the spring. Rich Soong and Otis Harrison kept going at Stotes by meeting tougher criteria, nabbing the sixth spot out of the six light doubles heading directly to the final round.

Penn Charter had its first qualifier in the boys' freshman quad, another area boat that did well during the Manny Flick races. Quakers Elias Moulton, James Foley, Jack Bowen, and Mackenzie Haines clocked in fifth among the six crews to reach the finals.

It was another six-survive challenge in the girls' freshman quad, and Germantown Friends remained on a roll as its ninth graders (Rebecca Rasmussen, Natalie Lau, Madeline Ohta, Cara Appleberry) easily met the standard with a third-place outcome in trials.

Just after 2:00 PM the junior boats (Stotesbury's term for the JV's) went into action. Needing to make the top 12 in the boys' quad, SCH (Jack Stephenson, Andrew Topping, Jude Halfpenny, Samuel Halfpenny) ranked seventh and Penn Charter (Scott Sweeney, James Glomb, Tyler Mangan, and William Kopf) was 10th.

The SCH girls' junior quad (Gabriela Leon-Palfrey, Samantha Simon, Ashley Keough, Kaia McTigue) were unaccustomed to finishing second, but that's where they stood after North Allegheny High School (from suburban Pittsburgh) clocked in five seconds ahead of them.

Also making the 12-boat cut in this event was Germantown Academy (Charlotte Harobin, Rebecca Zaki, Jenna Nolan, Blythe Berlinger), which placed ninth.

The 12 qualifiers in the girls' senior double included GFS and Springside Chestnut Hill. Amelia Sanchirico and Sophia Ortega of the Tigers turned in the third-fastest time, while Elizabeth Castellanos and Jocelyn Freed of the Blue Devils were ninth.

The area entries in the boys' senior double weren't able to move forward, but one girls' senior quad did. The SCH foursome of Ella Webb, Iris Alex, Ellie McClelland, and Kiley McTamney earned a spot in the semi's with one slot to spare, placing 11th.

Area boys performed well in their senior quad trials, with all three entries earning a berth in the semifinals. SCH (Teddy Tasman, Charles Miles, Luca Belmonte, Sammy Meyer) was timed eighth, with Penn Charter (Taylor Whitehead, Cornelius Lynch, James Tanner, Isaiah Woods-Kolsky) placing 11th just ahead of Germantown Academy (Andreas Moeller, Kiernan Devane, Anthony Kostacos, Alex Walkush).

None of the three, though, would make it past Saturday morning's semifinals, unable to place among the top three in their races. Springside Chestnut Hill came the closest, coming in fourth in the first semifinal but still finishing seven seconds off the pace of the third-place crew.

SCH was also a not-so-close fourth in one of the boys' junior quad semi's, where Penn Charter's entry also ended its weekend.

In the girls' junior quad, however, SCH won the second semifinal, nipping West Albemarle from Charlottesville, VA by eight-hundredths of a second. GA also made the finals in this category, coming in third in the first heat.

The SCH ladies in the senior double and senior quad were not as fortunate, saying so long to Stotes in their semifinal races. The girls in the GFS senior double did go through to the afternoon, placing second in the second semifinal with the third-fastest time overall.

In other doubles semifinals, GFS saw the end of the run of its boys' junior boat and its girls' lightweight crew. The lone sweep-boat semifinalist among these schools, the GA junior four, also made its exit at this stage.

With the crews that had gone straight to finals from the time trials added in, area programs were represented in the final round by six boats in five categories.

First up was the boys' lightweight double from GFS, which had done well to reach the finals in this strong field. Up front, Malvern Prep beat out Haverford School for the gold medal, while the Tigers wound up fifth while rowing in the least-favored lane, number six.

Penn Charter's boys' freshman quad came off the starting line 20 minutes later. Conestoga High School, which had dusted everyone back in the time trials, seized the gold medal by a 10-second margin. In the two inside lanes, Penn Charter was battling Hun School for second place, but down the stretch Hun caught a crab and almost stopped, while the Quakers continued to pull smoothly.

Charter captured the silver medal, while Hun was passed by Ridgewood (N.J.) High School, which won the bronze.

With one race in between, the freshman girls followed. New York's Augustine Classical Academy educated the rest of the field with a nine-second victory. Conestoga's quad earned the silver medal but without a lot of time to spare against bronze winner GFS. Their times were 5:44.74 and 5:46.31, respectively.

North Allegheny proved fastest in the girls' junior quad all weekend long, following its trials and semifinal showings with a victory in the finals. The three medalists were roughly three-and-a-half seconds apart, with Western Albemarle the runner-up and SCH capturing the bronze medal.

GA's quad finished fifth in the race.

A bronze medal also went to the senior double from Germantown Friends. There was open water between all of the boats in this race, several lengths in some cases. A crew from central New Jersey, Rumson Fair Haven, won the gold in 6:05.44. Nueva School, which had traveled from California, became the silver medalist in 6:10.51, and the Tiger girls captured the bronze medal in 6:17.34 with a huge lead over fourth-place Conestoga.

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