The Montclair rowing team had an impressive return to the high-stakes regatta season.  Their three gold and a silver at the 94th Stotesbury Cup Regatta this past weekend proved they were up to the challenge.

The Stotesbury Cup regatta is the oldest and largest high school regatta in the world.  Hosted by the Schuylkill Navy of Philadelphia, it was cancelled last year due to the pandemic.  While there were over 190 schools and 5,000 athletes competing at Stotes for each year from 2016 to 2019, this year those numbers were down to 130 schools and 2,734 athletes.

Also absent from this year’s regatta were any international teams, most of which were from Canada.  That said, clubs did travel from as far away as Florida, Texas, California, and Oregon.

According to the regatta’s website, Stotesbury was amongst the first public events approved by the Philadelphia Department of Public Health as the city reopens.  The city’s terms included mandatory masks for all on land, no spectators, and no vendors.  Teams risked exclusion for non-compliance.

It was certainly unusual to see the shores of the Schuylkill and the finish-line stands so empty, but that did not diminish the energy of the Mounties on the river during the two-day regatta on May 14th and 15th.

Montclair entered 15 time-trials on Friday with 14 advancing to the semi-finals. By noon on Saturday, nine of those were preparing to compete in their category finals.

The first Mountie boat to metal was the girls junior four who won gold and the Elizabeth Plate. With a full boat-length lead over second place Mount Saint Joseph Academy, Emma Demefack, Samara Haynes, Ada Starbuck, and Katia Petroff, won by 3.37 seconds, coxed by Maya Padberg.  Blair Academy took bronze.

Montclair did not have to wait long to top the medal dock again.  The boys junior eight left the second place Saint Joseph’s Preparatory School in their wake as they crossed the finish-line in 4:26.54.  La Salle College High School took bronze at 4:35.02.  Taking gold and the Charlie Butt Trophy were Gus Moore Manakas, Lucas Young, Noah Frank, Nate Loewy, Zach Troeller, Tripp Pitera, Aidan Brown, and Sam Welsh with their coxswain Alex Stamas.

Capping off an amazing season, Izzy Beck coxed Amelia Snyder, Bella Moreno, Zoe Larkey, and Sophie King to get it done and leave Blair Academy to silver in the girls senior four competition.  Montclair’s 5:44.65 race gave them gold and the Airley Cup while the Peddie School took bronze.

Not permitted at the river, many of the parent’s gathered to watch the live streamed broadcast together at the home of senior Amelia Snyder.  After they won, her mother Jennifer tearfully said, “As freshmen, these kids dreamed of winning Stotesbury. To see it, even if on a tv screen, is everything we could have hoped for them.” Adding, “Especially knowing the amount of hard work and devotion that they’ve given to the sport and the team. Crew has been such a positive force in their lives.”

Closing the 2021 Stotesbury Cup Regatta for the Montclair crew was the boys senior four final for George Harb, Charles Abrahams, Ethan Coplan, and Ryan Phariss with cox Ted Wilson.  In a tight battle all the way down the 1500-meter course, the Mounties took silver just 2 seconds behind St Joseph’s Prep while they edged out Christian Brothers Academy and gave them bronze.

“We are really glad to be competing again.” reflected head coach Jeremy Michalitsianos.

“Once we got back to competing, we also knew we really wanted to be winning.  We are very proud of the whole team for their efforts this year that has been like no other.”

The team will compete next at the SRAA National Championships Regatta back on the Schuylkill River for May 28th and 29th.