The Stotesbury Cup Regatta was already one of the biggest regattas in existence, and this year entries shot up 75 crews, with 198 schools from 14 different states participating. row2k interviewed someone from every winning team we could grab after the racing; a couple folks disappeared quickly into the formidable crowds, often to go watch their other crews race; sorry we did not get to speak to you. That said, following is 5600 words of interviews with the vast majority of winners; congratulations!
Boys Freshman Eight
Winter Park coach Matthew Cascaddan
Tell me about your crew this year, have they had any special challenges?
They've had the turmoil that all the boats go through; they've had the drama, they've got the girls issues, they've got the hard workouts, the injuries, but every day they came down wanting to do more, wanting to go faster. I've never seen a crew that wanted to go as fast as these guys did.
Did you and they think they could win today?
We thought we had a really good chance. We've trained really hard, and the guys have taken care of themselves, they stretch a lot, they eat a lot, they sleep a lot, so yeah, we thought coming into this weekend that we had a really good chance of making it happen.
What was tactic for the final?
You know, I told the guys just passion, let your passion come out, because that's what going to rule this. We always say it, passion rules the water. I told them on any given day, you take these 5-6 boats, you put them out on the racecourse, you're going to get a different outcome. Today we had the passion, and it showed.
Girls Jr Double
Holy Cross Catholic double of Lauren and Julia Vanderhooven
(The girls were talking back and forth very quickly, so it wasn't clear who was who at transcription time, sorry!)
Are you sisters?
How did the double come together?
Julia: We go to the same school, same team, and were put in the same boat, basically.
How much have you rowed together?
Julia: Just this year.
Lauren: I went to a different school last year, so we just started rowing together.
Did you switch schools to get in the double together?
Lauren: No, I went to a private school before, but then thought it would be fun.
Julia: we hoped we could row together.
Do you fight?
Lauren: Sometimes, you get frustrated with a bad row.
Julia: Oh, once in a while; she always tries to steer, and that's my job. (laughs)
Did you think you could win the race?
Lauren: we were pretty confident, but I was so scared here in the last 100 meters.
Julia: They were catching us, for sure.
Will you keep rowing together?
Julia: yeah, probably!
Girls Freshman Eight
Merion Mercy coach Mike Brown
Did you think the crew could win this race?
Yeah, they went undefeated all year, but I mean you come here...
Were they favored? Hard to compare, you don't race the southern schools and Winter Park is just an exceptional program with a great history, real fast. There's 5000 kids here, and they train 6000 minutes for a five minute boat race. All these kids are fast.
How do you prep freshmen for that kind of experience?
With freshmen you're all over the place, so the idea is stay calm, row your race, keep your eyes in the boat, it's all fundamentals. They had an unbelievable sprint, and where that came from, that's not the coaches, that's just big heart.
Boys Jr Double
There is an old saying that doubles are born, not made; do you buy that?
Not really. It was rough at times, but recently we have been going pretty good.We just pushed through the hard times. There were a lot of difficulties and a lot of slowdowns, but all you have to do is keep working through it, and motivate yourself.
Boys Jr Four
This event was subject to a rerow late in the afternoon after eventual winner Montclair hit debris and lost their steering, causing them to collide with other crews in the race.
Montclair coach Jeremy Michalitsianos:
Pretty unusual situation; how did you get your guys to turn it around?
I just tried to keep them calm and tell them that they are in the same position as everyone else. Everyone is tired, everyone got themselves up. We were the ones that lost our skeg and our fin, so I tried to remind them that the crew who felt as though they have won will be really fired up, and that it wasn't going to be an easy row. And it turned out that way, it was very difficult. Because when you are the ones that didn't finish the race, I felt that we had the hardest job in firing our crews up. Three of those other crews thought they'd won medals; they would be fired up, and it was difficult to try to refocus our boys to do the job at hand, rather than thinking well, we've just won this, because they have raced the whole race, and we stopped 500 meters from the finish. They were very professional, and their preparation was great. I felt we would have won – we were leading the race earlier – and so I felt that the just result came out.
What happened in the first race?
They hit a foreign object under the water, I'm assuming it was a log, they felt it hit the bow. The coxswain knew that they'd lost the fin, and she said 'we've lost the fin, don't panic. Starboard, starboard, starboard!' It was an emergency thing as they did it, and they basically t-boned the crew next to them. I felt it was fair; I felt sorry for the crews that had to race and maybe felt like they had won, obviously I felt bad for them, because they're only kids. But I felt that the overall result was the just result.
Boys Freshmen Quad
Coach Tom Gilroy
Coming into the event, did you think the crew could win it?
Absolutely. They haven't lost a race all year, from the Flicks, the Cities and Dr. White. Saratoga was the first boat that really challenged us and pushed us, and it showed right there, we won it by that much (see the photo finish here http://www.stotesburycupregatta.com/rega12/lynx12/scr12/007-final-07.jpg )
Was it hard coming in the favorite and undefeated?
There was a lot of pressure, more pressure. I almost prefer to be the underdog sometimes.
Girls lightweight double final
Coaches Cait Pennington and Erin Sullivan
Is this the first Stotes medal for Ursuline?
Erin: We're the new coaches this year, so it is the first for us. Two years ago they medaled, but not last year.
Is this a new double?
Cait: they've never rowed at Stotesbury before. They just got third at regionals, and lost to two club teams, and the club teams don't race at Stotesbury, so we were confident they could probably make grand finals, and maybe even win.
What was your tactic coming into this final?
Cait: one of them is very very lightweight, she weighs 112 lbs, so we tried to just bulk her up, eat as much as she could, and we wanted them to be strong, and wanted to establish dominance at the island. We knew that if they were ahead at the island, they could hold off and just keep pushing away from crews, and they did that. They held them off at the island and then one crew came close at the end.
Very close - were you guys nervous?
Erin: she couldn't even watch!
Cait: I said let me know when it's over (laughs).
Girls Jr Eight
Montclair coach Jeremy Michalitsianos
How has this crew been doing this year so far?
We won this even t last year with a crew thea was mainly juniors. They got a silver the year before, and they won it last year. This is a new crew, bar one person who was a sophomore last year. We made this crew up quite late in the season; some of them were racing lightweight eight, some of them were rowing a JV four. One of the girls is a complete novice this year, her first time on the water was the eighth of March.
How did it come together?
Kind of luck really (laughs). Sometimes crews go, you know – we had an experienced stroke girl, last year she was in the lightweight four and got a silver. We had the experience of the girl in the middle who had won it, and we had fve sophomores that had never won anything last year at all. So with five sophomores, some luck, and sometimes you put crews together and they go, and sometimes they don't.
With a crew without that much experience, how did you approach a massive regatta like this?
All I ever try and do with all my crews is try and give them the experience I had when I rowed. In terms of this regatta, we had the settling influence of the six seat from last year, and we just tried to take it one race at a time. That's what we do with all ouf crews. The time trial, that's out the door; the time trial is basically against yourself, forget 50 crews. Then there's a side by side race in the semifinal, all you've got to do is look at the other five crews, forget the final. One race at a time, try and pick off the race. Luckily for us, they rowed appallingly this morning. If they'd done what they did this morning, they would have lost, but fortunately they rowed their bad race in the semi, and gave me a chance to kind of rectify a few things. And that was it really. There's a lot of preparation, and I always think that the results come from preparation, not on regatta day. It's just their preparation; winter training started first November, and it's six or seven months of preparation. Race day to me is nothing special. Just take one race at a time, and if they're prepared, they'll do well, and that's the way I always coached them.
Boys Jr Eight
Dan Kilpatrick, St. Joseph's Prep
How has the crew fared so far this year?
They have been chasing St. Andrews the entire year, coming in second all the way.
So how did you get them through this time?
We really focused on trying to punish them with our base rate, not trying to do any moves, just let's even split straight through. We just started doing that the last week and they really fell in line.
How did you decide on that tactic?
I think that every time I noticed guys taking 10s and 20s, we would look at the speed coach and see there was a big dropoff after the 20, so I figured why are we doing that to ourselves, let's just even split it.
Did it feel risky for this race?
A little bit, a little bit!
Boys Jr. Quad
How has the crew been doing this year?
Undefeated so far. It was a lot of pressure for us. I just had them stick to our race plan and execute what we have been doing all year. I followed the whole race down and we were sitting in third place with about 600 to go, and we made our move that we normally make, and went from third to first.
Have they been racing from behind this year?
Off and on. Some races, when our starts were bad, we raced from behind, but when we get out of the blocks clean, we can get out and just go.
Were you worried here until they made their move?
I was waiting, I was waiting. Here we go, and then all of a sudden, boom, they came through. We just did our thing. It's simple, as I like to keep it – you have heard KISS – keep it simple stupid – so the guys just keep our blinders on and do what we have to do. We know what works, we've raced from behind, we've raced ahead, so there should be no problems.
Girls Jr. Quad
First Stotesbury gold in team history.
Haddon Township coaches Greg Francis Annie Bowler,
How has this crew performed this year?
Greg: It has been back and forth; they have had typically top two finishes, so we had high hopes for them here.
Annie: we got second place two weeks ago in Philly at the City Championships, so to win Stotes two weeks later, it is pretty unexpected.
What did you change in two weeks times?
Annie: the girls just really gelled together. We made a few lineup changes, but really focused on mental improvements, and convincing them that they could be Stotes champions.
Did you think they could win?
Greg: I did!
Annie: we felt they could win all along, but convincing them to take the risk of admitting to themselves that they can win, and all the nerves that come along with that, they really were on par with that this weekend, moreso than I have seen ever.
How do you see their chances at Nationals?
Greg: I think based on this week, pretty good
Girls lightweight eight
Holy Spirit coach Rory Roberts
How has this crew done this year?
Roberts: we were always winning, and then Montclair broke down their varsity eight and decided to row lightweight, so they had us for a few weeks. Then we turned it on and were able to get them at Cities, and now Stotes.
How did you guys turn it around?
I can't give away my secrets.
Same kids, never any changes. They just believed in the workout plan, the fitness plan, they just believed. They're the most competitive group of girls I've coached.
How do you see their chances at Nationals?
Well, we race very competitive crews, so you never know, but our goal is to win.
Boys lightweight eight
St Joseph's Prep head coach Jim Glavin
How has this boat done so far this year?
So did you feel pressure coming into this race with an undefeated crew?
These guys work so hard. The only pressure that they feel is what they put on themselves. I mean, I'm not trying to boast for them. It's just they work really...I mean, they race my heavyweights and torture them every day. And so they haven't lost a race in two years. So they were undefeated last year too. And they've only graduated three guys so it's the same... Five guys back and a new coxswain.
So coming into it did you think that they had this in them say back in March?
Well you can never be that presumptive to think anything is going to happen in March. You know I didn't even have the same line up in there in March. So it's just really a question of...it sort of sorts itself out. The guys that belong in the boat and work their hardest and pay attention and become a crew of people who wind up in the boat and that's the way we start our boats. We don't do a lot of ergo testing, we do very little. We do a lot of ergo training but little testing. So it's really about how well they row and how they flow as a unit. Rowing is a sport of eight people doing the same thing as the others and the ergo is a singular event. It's a great conditioning boat but it doesn't teach you how to row the boat. You've got to spend the time in the boat.
Why is this group so highly talented? Is it because they've had an awesome two years or...
Because they think they're heavyweights. They row every day like they're heavyweights. I mean, and there's a tradition in light weight tradition as a prep, as well as heavyweight but the lightweight tradition is phenomenal. And, I mean, I don't know whether you saw them but every guy that graduated last year is up in the stands. So they come back and support them, they call them and text them. So it's just a family really of guys that...lightweights are special because they have to keep their weight down. Not that they diet because we don't let them diet. We take body weight early and if they're not within a percentage or two of what they need to be in March they can't row anyway for us. So we don't fool around. I think the most they've had to loose, one or two guys had to lose three pounds to be 155. My stroke man is 145 so we're a lightweight crew.
Is it a young boat?
Well we've got three juniors in the boat and the rest are seniors. So I wouldn't say young, no. But there's a bunch of good guys.
Girls lightweight four
Manhasset coach Hugo Guardado
I saw you bring some cookies down to the crew.
(Laughs) They're lightweights, so I bring them some cookies – they're always watching what they eat, so what better treat than giving something sweet.
How has their season been so far?
Amazing, they have been undefeated, so this was a big challenge for them. There are some amazing crews, and everybody here brings their best, and we knew it was going to be tough. So we were very happy to be able to finish in first.
How did you approach the regatta?
We had our goals set back in February. Our goal was to try to win everything, work as hard as possible, so we put a lot of time into it, and I knew they wanted it really badly. They basically made the commitment to practice as hard as possible every day, and it pays off. So time and effort was the main key.
Did you think they could do it when you pushed them off today?
Coming from NY states and finishing about 24 seconds ahead of the second boat gave them a good feeling. The schools in New York were very good, but we felt very confident that we could put a good show here at Stotes.
Boys senior double
EL Crossley coach Iain Wilson
They have been rowing together since January, they hopped into it. It was a good winter, we were able to stay on the water in St. Catharines. Those guys train all year in St. Catharines. We didn't know too much coming in, just that we had to go fast at the regatta. I knew they had a bit of target on their back since they won last year, with a different bowman; the bowman from last year graduated and is at Brock. You have to feed off of that, and make sure you are working hard. They are really rowing-conscious guys, they're into nutrition, and they know how to step up their game. Matt Coppola is honestly one of the smartest rowing athletes, he knows more about nutrition and that kind of thing than any other junior I have seen.
Girls second eight
James Madison assistant coach Charlotte Morris
They are undefeated. They have had the fastest time all the way through the weekend; it was definitely a very close race, but they are a very confident boat and have been doing very well. This is the second year in a row we have won, including some of the same kids.
Girls senior quad
Conestoga coach Paul Coombs
They have had a great year. They have won just about every race they have been in. There are four sophomores who are really talented and know how to work hard, and know how to race. That's a really good combination.
How do you get four sophomores to get their heads around a regatta of this size, with time trials and semis?
I don't if they really had their heads around it yet. But I think they do now. Coming into it, since they were sophomores, I don't think they really knew how big it was, but I think they do now. Seeing the sheer size and magnitude of Stotesbury, and the crowd, it's a big deal.
Do you think it is hard for a crew to come back the following year and do well?
I don't know, they have to stay motivated, they have to continue to work; obviously everyone is going to put in a lot of work trying to win this event next year, so they have to keep working hard.
How do you get a group of sophomores to gel like this?
They rowed together last year and I think they just have good chemistry. Even if they have arguments off the water, they leave it off the water, and when they get into the boat they know how to work well together, communicate together, , and they have fun and race hard.
Boys Sr Quad
Montclair coach Boris Roque
This event had a six-year streak going (for Malvern), how did you address that and get through it?
That crew has been rowing together for four years. In their freshman year, they lost with this same Malvern boat by 34/100 of a second, so I guess they were looking for meeting again on the water to race them again. Today we were lucky I think, because they have been racing all season, and in every race a different boat was the winner. So today we were lucky and we got there first. Today they were sure that they would come and win this race, they were sure. They won the heats, they won the semifinals, and they were confident that today they could win. I am a little sad for Malvern and Conestoga; when our boys got the cup, they asked the person "is this the Malvern trophy?" because Malvern has won for six years, very impressive.
Boys Sr. Single
Craig Slater Interview
Have you spent a lot of time in the singles?
Yeah, I've been in the singles since I was a freshman in high school.
All the time?
All the time. That's all I do.
Is it the boat for you?
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, it's pretty much the only boat for me because I don't have other people in my club to compete with. So it's the only thing that I can really resort to. But I've enjoyed it throughout high school. It's been a wonder and it's an honor to win this race.
Was this a big goal for you coming in to try to win this?
Absolutely. This is pretty much my biggest race of the year. Youth Nationals and SRAAs will be big as well but I know that this is a legendary cup. This is the 86th time that it's gone on and it's a wonderful race. I'm honored to win it.
How about it being named after Jack Kelly? Is that kind of special for you?
Oh absolutely. I've known all about Mr. Kelly pretty much since I started rowing and I actually have a book about him and I read a lot about him online. It's an honor to win a cup that's named after such a great oarsman.
You say in your club there isn't like other guys you can row with?
I mean there is but to be like as competitive as this I really stick with it on my own and pretty much did all training on my own. I don't really have a coach.
Does it get lonely?
It does. It does get lonely. I mean, I love the team aspect of it and I'll get that at Harvard next year. So I'm definitely looking forward to that. But I've enjoyed it just as much going out at 4:45 every morning and just watching the sun rise as I row on my own. It's very peaceful.
Girls Sr. Single
I have been rowing the single for a month and a half. I was at West Side rowing club, but due to some political reasons I switched, and now I row in Welland Ontario every single day, across the border, hour ride, yeah!
How did things come together in the single so quickly for you?
I just have excellent coaches, and dedication.
Do you like the boat?
I love it, yes. It is the only boat where the only person to blame is yourself, and that's when you really learn something.
What were you rowing before the single?
Fours and eights.
So not even sculling?
Did you flip? Bad practices?
Yeah, everyone has bad practices.
What made you think you could come and do well here?
Honestly, I didn't know; I just wanted to go out there and do my best, and I guess my best was first today!
Are you surprised?
I am absolutely shocked.
Girls Sr. Four
Merion Mercy coach Mike Brown
This is your second trip up here, has your team ever done that?
Two gold medals at Stotesbury? No, we're never won Stotesbury.
So what is it about this year's team that made them able to get to the podium?
The varsity four has three girls back from the four that won the Scholastic Nationals last year and won the women's Henley regatta. And they're races, so those three were in the stern pair.
How had they done so far this year?
We race the varsity eight all year, and had an injury right before Cities, so we broke down into the four, and Friday's time trial was their first race all year in a four.
Was that tricky?
Not really, because the stern pair and the coxswain had been there, they'd won the Henley, so they just needed a test of what their boat speed was. They found out they had competitive boat speed in the time trial, then went out today and won their heat, no pep talks – do what you have to do and see you on the medals stand!
Will you continue in these lineups for Nationals?
The eight qualified, the four we hadn't rowed. So I don't know, we'll have to think about it tonight and then see. It would be nice to go back to back at Nationals, if there is an open lane for us.
Boys Sr Four
Saratoga Coach Chris Chase
Tell me about the crew.
They're all seniors, and they made a commitment after last year, so we decided to keep them together this year and go for the four. They felt like they had some unfinished business. They were in the four last year that won the junior four at nationals. This is the first time our team has ever come to the Stotesbury. It is our prom weekend and I only bring freshman boys and girls. So I took over the entire boys program this spring, and decided we would come down and give up prom, and come down and see what it was all about. It has been a great time, a great day.
Since the kids haven't come here to such a large regatta, how did you navigate that?
We host some big regattas at Saratoga, so the size of the regatta was okay, and we were pretty incubated up at the canoe club. There are only 25 trailers. It was very calm and very nice. The hardest thing about this race having never been here is that where we race, it is all headwind and head current.
Girls Sr Eight
Mount St. Joseph's head coach Mike McKenna
When was the last time you guys won this one?
2010. There are two kids returning from that crew.
And I think last year you kind of had a shot at it?
Yeah, we were second. Yeah, we were second. But Radnor handled us…
Was there any sort of redemption on the line for this year?
Not really, not this year. We saw them all year long so there was no issue there.
How has this crew done so far this year?
They haven't lost any high school crews. We lost to Connecticut Boat Club and had a couple tight races and that's about it.
So did you think coming into this that they could win this race?
Yes - but.... but - they're high school girls handling the favorite role (laughs), so that's a tremendous amount of pressure for them.
Yeah, so how do you do that?
I get them to focus on themselves, their own crew, what they've done to get to where they are, and don't worry about anything but yourself.
Is it a young boat?
No, it's a very mature boat. There are eight seniors and one junior.
How are the kids coming up behind them?
We've got a pretty good group. We'll be okay. We'll reload (laughs).
So what did you ask them to do in this race? A little tail current, a little tail wind...
Oh yeah. The tail wind I was hoping the wind would die because we're a pretty powerful crew and that kind of takes away the advantage (laughs). I like a little… nothing. Just the headwind would give James Madison a shot too. But the reality is, you know, neutral conditions were fine. A little bit of tail current doesn't bother me.
And so what's next?
SRAA, then Youth National and then Henley Women's.
How do you think their chances are next week?
Next week it's the same cast of characters plus some of the Midwest schools and Saratoga, so we'll be in the hunt. We'll be in the hunt. New Trier and us have actually been alternating the last six years every other year.
And so who won last year?
Boys Senior Eight
Gonzaga coach Marc Mandel
Did you think these guys could do this coming in? How have they done this year?
They've been undefeated. We've raced some of the best high school crews in the country and we've been undefeated. So that's a lot of pressure as well, and I think we fulfilled out potential. It was very stressful but it's so fulfilling just to know that this is what we could do and we actually did it. So that's awesome.
Anything special you did this weekend? There's lots of racing over two days.
Yeah, I mean, we were a bit conservative. We were very, we were conservative in our time trial and so we were only fifth. So it was a little unnerving sort of seeing we were fifth in the results but we had a good race this morning in the fastest semi and so I knew this was our potential. I think it makes it just that much sweeter to get it done.
Where do these guys go after this?
Scholastic Nationals next week and then we made the decision about a month ago after our St. Andrews race, where we beat Kent, St. Andrews, St. Joe's, we made a decision then to plan for Henley. So that just lumped the pressure on us. So that's just another thing, to fulfill that potential and to know we were justified in making that decision early because all these kids had other commitments in the summer that we had to decide. But week in and week out we've raced really good competition and we've come out ahead. I mean today was certainly the first day where we've had to sprint through to win. As so it's just been a very good...
Did you plan for that today?
We didn't, but we knew we would have to row full race.
Short race too.
Yeah, yeah. I mean 4:06 something. The crew average is 170 pounds. They're not huge kids. We have four seniors, a sophomore and three juniors, a lot of guys who were in our second eight last year who did well. But you know that crew, that line up, has been together all year. They were fifth in Boston at the head of the Charles, and we didn't structure our fall training to be great at the Head of the Charles. So that was just sort of an indicator that we had something here. And so again I think in the back of our minds we all knew that we could do this today. And so just to actually get it done on race day and in that sort of dramatic fashion is just awesome. There's not a weak link in the boat.