The Ocean City Board of Education during its June 26 meeting recognized the Ocean City High School Freshman Eight boys crew team for its historic Stotesbury Regatta victory May 18 in Philadelphia.

This was first time in Stotesbury Regatta history that an Ocean City team has won gold at this event, defeating 44 other boats.

"The Stotesbury Regatta is one the largest high school regattas in the country, and maybe one of the oldest in the country, and our boys took the gold," said Ocean City School District Superintendent Kathleen Taylor. "These are guys that make us proud both on and off the water."

The Freshman Eight boat members are Chase Devlin, 15, of Ocean City, Colin Stewart, 15, of Upper Township, Christopher Delgrande, 15, of Upper Township, Ryan Fisher, 15, of Upper Township, Roman LaRosa, 15, of Sea Isle City, Evan Nathan, 15, of Upper Township, Brendan McClure, 15, of Margate, Nic DiMarco, 15, of Ocean City, and Christian Baumgardener, 15, of Longport. Their coaches are John Millar, Ryan Huck and Evan Ryan.

Their boat was named the Brian T. Fitzpatrick in honor of a 17-year-old Ocean City crew member who died in a car crash and to whom they dedicated their win.

"Brian was one of the top rowers in the beginning crew program back in 2004 and 2005 when he died," Taylor said. The Freshman Eight dedicated their win to him, so Brian also got this medal."

Millar said he is especially proud of the boys' commitment throughout the season.

"Three weeks before the Stotesbury, we entered the state championships, and we came in fifth. Right then, I turned to the guys and I said, 'Do you want to give up?' Well, obviously they made the right choice. The four teams that beat us in the states didn't even make it to the finals. So that's the kind of character these guys have," Millar said. "So I just want to congratulate them again for all of their hard work and dedication, especially as I remember all of the cold days of the season."

On behalf of the Board of Education, Taylor then presented each of the students with an award and wished them luck in their future years on the water.

"We look forward to following your future successes over the next few years," she said.

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