The Holy Spirit High School girls lightweight-eight crew put the finishing touches on a second straight undefeated season on Saturday, winning at the Scholastic Rowing Association of American Regatta on the Cooper River in Camden County.
The Holy Spirit lightweight eight was the only area crew to win its division out of 34 categories at the two-day regatta, which is commonly called "the Nationals."
The Spartans overcame windy conditions to win their 1,500-meter final in 5 minutes, 4.13 seconds.
The Holy Spirit crew consisted of bow Danielle Peck, Sofia Iaconelli, Nicole Maslowas, Caroline Bradley, Victoria Light, Katie Bainbridge, Shannon LaSala, stroke Cailin McCully and coxswain Kiersten Stone.
The lightweight division in girls crew has participants 130 pounds or lighter.
"It feels great to have been part of this boat for three years," said senior Stone, 18, a Brigantine resident. "We actually talked about how we wanted to be remembered as one of the top boats in (Holy Spirit's) history."
Stone said a tailwind made the difficult to steer as it pushing it to the starboard side.
"We took off, and the wind was really bad," Stone said. "The conditions were horrible but we're used to that training in Brigantine. Steering it I tried to hug the port side. I kept telling them that since we're used to conditions like this that we could use it to our advantage."
The crew has six seniors, including five who have been in the boat three years, In that time, the crew has won a program-record three straight Stotesbury Cup championships and now two straight at the SRAA.
"It was a great way for the seniors on the crew to go out, as national champions," Holy Spirit girls crew coach Joe Welsh said.
Rory Roberts, the Holy Spirit girls lightweight eight coach, added, "We couldn't be more proud. They're one of the best boats in our history."
Roberts said that the Spartans haven't decided where the lightweight crew may row in the postseason.
The Holy Spirit girls were the only area crew to make a varsity-eight grand final. The Spartans finished fifth in 5:03.72.
"Our (varsity eight) is nearly all sophomores and juniors, and they're a small crew," Welsh said. "James Madison (the winner) has three girls who are members of the junior national team. But our girls will all be back except for (senior) Lauren Turner, and we have others coming up too. The future looks bright for us."
The St. Augustine Prep varsity eight finished third in a semifinal heat, and returned to win the petite (consolation) final in 4:24.45.
Contact Guy Gargan:
Women's lightweight quad-1. Conestoga 5:25.53; 2. Holy Spirit 5:52.41; 5. Egg Harbor Township 6:24.55.
Men's freshman eight-1. New Trier 4:37.40; 4. Ocean City 4:42.80; 6. St. Augustine Prep 4:51.76.
Men's junior four-1. St. Peter's Prep 5:01.98; 2. Oakcrest 5:06.69.
Women's junior eight-1. New Trier 5:04.01; 2. Holy Spirit 5:07.96; 3. Oakcrest 5:10.63.
Men's junior eight-1. W.T. Woodson 4:30.30; 4. Holy Spirit 4:32.65.
Women's lightweight four-1. Manhasset 5:33.67; 4. Oakcrest 5:48.26.
Women's lightweight eight-1. Holy Spirit 5:04.13.
Men's lightweight eight-1. St. Joseph's Prep 4:22.91; 5. St. Augustine Prep 4:34.22.
Women's varsity four-Harriton 5:25.56; 4. Mainland Regional 5:33.05; 6. Egg Harbor Township 5:37.74.
Men's varsity eight petite final-1. St. Augustine Prep 4:24.45.
Women's varsity eight-1. James Madison 4:50.47; 5. Holy Spirit 5:03.72.