When the Egg Harbor Township High School boys and girls varsity fours and boys lightweight four each won two weeks ago at the Stotesbury Cup Regatta in Philadelphia, they showed that they might be the top crews in their category in the Eastern and Midwest states.
Now there's no doubt.
The EHT fours each won titles Saturday at the 76th Scholastic Rowing Association of America Regatta in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. The Stotesbury Cup and the SRAA are the two top events of the crew season.
The Egg Harbor Township boys varsity four crew rallied to win the 1,500-meter final in 5 minutes, 12.60 seconds. The Eagles put on a sprint to overtake the Hun School, which was second in 5:13.14. It was the first boys varsity four win for the EHT boys.
The Eagles' girls boat won its championship race in 5:52.97.
The Eagles' boys lightweight four boat won the SRAA final for the second year in a row, topping St. Joseph's Collegiate (Buffalo, N.Y.) by just less than 6 seconds. The winning time was 5:22.92.
"The (boys) coaching staff is really excited about (getting two wins), but the credit goes to the kids," Egg Harbor Township coach Zach Palombo said in a phone interview. "I thought the varsity four would win, but it was too close for me. We were going against schools like Haverford, Hun School and (Bishop) Eustace, that we had beaten handily. I give credit to Hun School, they rowed a great race. It was too close for comfort. But it's like I say, we have rowers who don't get rattled when they see challenges.
"Actually, I felt the lightweight four had it (won) after the semifinals, but I didn't tell them because I didn't want them to be overconfident. They had a bad start and they were fourth, but they were in first after 30 strokes, and they opened it up."
The Eagles' boys team won the lightweight four and junior four events at the SRAA in 2009.
The Egg Harbor Township girls varsity four won the EHT girls program's first title at the SRAA, an event commonly known as the Nationals.
"When the seniors were freshmen, it was my first year at Egg Harbor Township, and I told them about having the program be what it could be by the time they were seniors," EHT girls coach Dan Welsh said. "It was nice to get that accomplished. I could see their determined faces today, and I could tell they were going to have a great row."
The Holy Spirit girls varsity eight made the final but finished sixth in the race, which was won by Mount St. Joseph (Pa.) in 5:09.50. No area boys varsity eight reached the final, a race won by St. Joseph's Prep (Pa.) in 4:28.50.
The EHT girls varsity four crew consisted of stroke Stephanie Hauck, Lynn Ratte, Taylor Biesiada, bow Julie Engle and coxswain Chelsea Paulin. Seniors Hauck, Ratte and Paulin were part of last year's varsity four, which was third at the SRAA.
"It feels really good to win. It was definitely the best race we had all year," Hauck said. "Each race we've gotten better and better."
The Eagles' boys varsity four consisted of stroke Dan Walz, Kyle Erlandson, Aaron Long, bow Brad Miller and coxswain Matt Ciarallo.
"I guess we're setting a tradition," said Walz, who was part of the winning junior four last year. "Hun School stuck with us but we went past them in the sprint."
Miller, a lightweight four rower last year, said: "It's amazing to win to win two years in a row, and this year was a bigger category. ... It was a really hard race.
The EHT boys lightweight four consisted of stroke Ray DePhillips, Justin Ebert, Matt Sorg, bow Butch Eribal and coxswain A.J. Rivell.
"I was confident that we could go out and win because I thought our training was better," said DePhillips, a returnee to the boat.
The Holy Spirit girls lightweight eight crew finished second in its final, while the Spartans' girls second eight finished third.
Contact Guy Gargan:
Saturday's local results
WOMEN'S FRESHMAN EIGHT
1. Saratoga 5:31.72; 4. Absegami 5:41.66; 5. Mainland 5:41.78.
WOMEN'S JUNIOR QUAD
1. Friends Academy 5:39.55; 6. Egg Harbor Township 6:14.46.
WOMEN'S JUNIOR EIGHT
1. Saratoga 5:25.44; 6. Absegami 5:42.85.
MEN'S JUNIOR EIGHT
1. St. Joseph's Prep 4:43.53; 6. Absegami 4:57.11.
WOMEN'S LIGHTWEIGHT FOUR
1. Manhasset 6:10.94; 6. Absegami 6:27.62.
MEN'S LIGHTWEIGHT FOUR
1. Egg Harbor Township 5:22.92.
WOMEN'S LIGHTWEIGHT EIGHT
1. Mount St. .Joseph 5:40.07; 2. Holy Spirit (Victoria Ciccone, Sarah Stooks, Kristina Wolf, Julia Guenther, Samantha Kurtz, Breanne Leithmann, Lauren Marienski, bow Ashley Peterson, coxswain Jessica Hogan) 5:50.89.
WOMEN'S SECOND VARSITY EIGHT
1. T.C. Williams 5:50.32; 3. Holy Spirit (bow Theresa Smith, Sloane Spurlock, Carly Burbridge, Amanda Hartman, Brenda Riley, Dana DiStefano, Maggie Vesper, stroke Kelsey Obringer, coxswain Sarah Kanefsky) 5:53.15; 5. Ocean City 5:54.67.
MEN'S SECOND VARSITY EIGHT
1. New Trier 4:58.82; 6. St. Augustine 5:19.20.
WOMEN'S SENIOR FOUR
1. Egg Harbor Township 5:52.97.
MEN'S SENIOR FOUR
1. Egg Harbor Township 5:12.60.
WOMEN'S SENIOR EIGHT (PETITE FINAL)
1. Robinson 5:23.54; 4. Ocean City 5:29.21; 5. Atlantic City 5:29.21.
MEN'S SENIOR EIGHT (PETITE FINAL)
1. Gonzaga 4:37.69; 3. St. Augustine 4:40.93.
WOMEN'S SENIOR EIGHT
1. Mount St. Joseph 5:09.50; 6. Holy Spirit 5:25.93.
MEN'S SENIOR EIGHT
1. St. Joseph's Prep 4:28.50.