Ea­gles con­tinue to soar on Schuylkill

The Washington Post Sunday - - BASEBALL - STOTES­BURY CUP RE­GATTA BY JOSHUA NEEDELMAN joshua.needelman@wash­post.com

philadel­phia — Row­ing alone along the glis­ten­ing Schuylkill River, with no com­pet­ing boats at their side and gold medals hang­ing around their necks, the Na­tional Cathe­dral girls’ first var­sity eight boat’s post-race con­ver­sa­tion cen­tered around a four-peat.

Such is re­al­ity for the now three-time de­fend­ing Stotes­bury Cup cham­pi­ons. Af­ter win­ning the Vir­ginia Scholas­tic Row­ing As­so­ci­a­tion cham­pi­onship last week, the Ea­gles earned fur­ther dis­tinc­tion Satur­day, cap­tur­ing first place at the pres­ti­gious re­gatta in a time of 4 min­utes 55.78 sec­onds.

Whit­man came in sec­ond (4:58.97), while Bethesda-Chevy Chase (5:09.13) and Madi­son (5:10.39) took fifth and sixth place, re­spec­tively, in the fi­nal.

“Ev­ery year you feel a lit­tle bit more pres­sure just be­cause you un­der­stand the im­por­tance,” Na­tional Cathe­dral ju­nior Beata Cor­co­ran said.

The Ea­gles’ jour­ney to gold be­gan in­doors this past win­ter, where they would spend as long as two hours pump­ing out reps on in­di­vid­ual row­ing ma­chines. One of the team’s fa­vorite work­outs is called ‘Husky Power,’ which calls for row­ers to grind out 20 con­sec­u­tive strokes as hard as they can.

Ju­nior coxswain So­phie Dunn doesn’t par­tic­i­pate in the arm­sculpt­ing work­outs, but as her team­mates would grind away she’d shout, “We do this for Stotes­bury!”

“Ev­ery sin­gle stroke, ev­ery sin­gle breath, ev­ery piece is ba­si­cally for this mo­ment,” Dunn said. “Ob­vi­ously it paid off.”

It paid off in the form of a com­fort­able win, hardly a sur­pris­ing re­sult given the team’s track record.

What tran­spired in the boys’ first var­sity eight bucked a trend.

No boat in the di­vi­sion had ever won six con­sec­u­tive Stotes­bury Cups, but Gon­zaga had a chance at the feat. It proved more dif­fi­cult, how­ever, af­ter a lack­lus­ter time in the semi­fi­nal rel­e­gated the Ea­gles to the sixth (and least de­sir­able) lane.

The Ea­gles made an im­pres­sive ef­fort but couldn’t over­come their start­ing spot, fin­ish­ing sec­ond in the fi­nal (4:17.03). St. Al­bans, which edged Gon­zaga in the semi­fi­nal, was third (4:18.77), as both were beaten by Mont­clair (N.J.), which stopped the clock in 4:14.44. B-CC (4:26.22) earned sixth place.

“It’s ob­vi­ously not what we hoped for, but it’s def­i­nitely not some­thing to put our heads down on,” se­nior John Schoe­newolf said. “We have a lot to look for­ward to in the fu­ture.”

The Ea­gles still have Youth Na­tion­als and the Hen­ley Royal Re­gatta in Eng­land on their sched­ule. But com­ing up short on a river the team has had so much suc­cess on was dis­ap­point­ing.

In other races, Gon­zaga’s sec­ond var­sity eight took first in its fi­nal with a 4:26.42. Na­tional Cathe­dral’s sec­ond var­sity eight also earned first place in 5:04.90.

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