The Holy Spirit High School girls lightweight-eight crew won the Stotesbury Cup final for the third year in a row on Saturday in Philadelphia, and the Spartans were anything but complacent about it.
The undefeated Holy Spirit crew dominated the field and won the six-boat, 1,500-meter final by just under four seconds in 5 minutes, 4.01 seconds.
The Spartans crew included bow Danielle Peck, Sofia Iaconelli, Nicole Maslowas, Caroline Bradley, Victoria Light, Katie Bainbridge, Shannon LaSala, stroke Cailin McCully, coxswain Kiersten Stone.
"This is the most exciting win of the three," said Light, a 17-year-old Absecon resident. "We chose to stay lightweights, and now we're saying, 'Wow, we can't believe we won three years in a row.' It's pretty much the same crew, and the connection we have is even stronger."
The Ocean City High School boys freshman eight was the other area winner, capturing its final by more than three seconds in 4:46.06.
Five seniors from the Holy Spirit girls lightweight eight crew, Maslowas, Bainbridge, Light, La Sala and Stone, were in the boat for three straight Stotesbury victories. Iaconelli was on the winning crew in 2011, and returned to the boat this spring after rowing in the varsity eight last year.
"Our lightweight eight gelled together and hit their peak," Holy Spirit High School girls crew coach Joe Welsh said. "The three juniors this year fell right in with the team and they all did a great job."
The Spartans won their final by 1.72 seconds last year, but won by 3.99 seconds over second-place Mount St. Joseph on Saturday.
"I think it's even more exciting this year," said Stone, an 18-year-old senior from Brigantine. "Every year we wanted to stretch the lead, and to win by open water today is great."
The Spartans crew has now won four of the five championship regattas of the crew season.
The final event, the Scholastic Rowing Association of America Regatta, is this Friday and Saturday on the Cooper River in Camden County.
"I'm really happy to see this group of seniors win three in a row at Stotesbury," said Rory Roberts, the Holy Spirit girls lightweight eight coach. "They hit the ground running and they have so much continuity. It's a tribute to their work ethic. They're extremely hard workers."
The Ocean City boys freshman-eight crew consisted of stroke Nick DiMarco, Evan Nathan, Colin Stewart, Christian Baumgardner, Chris Delgrande, Ryan Fisher, Roman LaRosa, bow Brendan McClure, coxswain Chase Devlin.
The Red Raiders beat rivals La Salle College High School and St. Joseph's Prep, which were second and third, respectively.
"They really came together," said Ocean City boys crew coach Mike Millar. "They beat two big powerhouses. They put it all together. When you add the victory by our novice-eight boat (at the Philadelphia City Championships on May 5), we're more than excited (about the future)."
Novice crews (first-year rowers) don't race at the Stotesbury Cup.
The Holy Spirit girls varsity-eight crew placed fourth in its final in 5:01.38. James Madison (Va.) won the race in 4:52.44.
The St. Augustine Prep varsity eight finished fifth in the final in 4:21.60. Gonzaga (D.C.) was the winner in 4:17.01.
The Mainland Regional girls junior eight placed second, and the Oakcrest boys junior four finished third.
Contact Guy Gargan:
Men's freshman eight-1. Ocean City (stroke Nick DiMarco, Evan Nathan, Colin Stewart, Christian Baumgardner, Chris Delgrande, Ryan Fisher, Roman LaRosa, bow Brendan McClure, coxswain Chase Devlin) 6:49.60; 2. SA 4:51.68; 3. MAIN 5:04.58; 4. EHT 5:19.51; 5. CC 6:03.56.
Girls freshman eight-1. Saratoga 5:12.49; 4. Holy Spirit 5:22.63.
Boys junior four-1. St. Peters Prep 5:01.51; 3. Oakcrest 5:05.76.
Girls junior four-1. Branksome Hall 5:38.63; 4. Egg Harbor Township 5:44.30.
Girls junior eight-1. Montclair 5:06.25; 2. Mainland Regional 5:09.11; 5. Oakcrest 5:13.22.
Boys junior eight-Montclair 4:29.64; 5. Holy Spirit 4:37.74.
Women's lightweight eight-1. Holy Spirit (bow Danielle Peck, Sofia Iaconelli, Nicole Maslowas, Caroline Bradley, Victoria Light, Katie Bainbridge, Shannon LaSala, stroke Cailin McCully, coxswain Kiersten Stone)
Boys lightweight eight-1. St. Joseph's Prep 4:28.28; 4. St. Augustine Prep 4:36.76..
Girls lightweight four-1. Manhasset 5:31.51; 5. Oakcrest 5:46.97.
Boys second eight-1. Gonzaga 4:27.89; 6. St. Augustine Prep 4:42.73.
Girls second eight-1. Mount Saint Joseph 5:08.94; 4. Absegami 5:17.50.
Girls senior four-1. E.L. Crossley 5:20.24; 4. Mainland Regional 5:21.63.
Girls senior eight-1. James Madison 4:52.44; 4. Holy Spirit 5:01.38.
Boys senior four-1. Gonzaga 4:14.14; 5. St. Augustine Prep 4:21.60.