Yorktown Advances Six Crews to Stotesbury Second Round - Most in More Than a Decade

History is made in small increments and over a brilliant sunny weekend in Philadelphia May 18-19, the Yorktown crew program took another step forward at the 86th annual Stotesbury Cup Regatta. Fielding one of its largest and deepest teams ever, the Yorktown men's and women's crews put six crews into the semifinal round of the largest high school regatta in the world. This was certainly the team's best performance in more than 10 years and likely the best ever, topping 2010's record of five crews advancing. Unfortunately, none of the six could crack into the grand final round, but some courageous performances from the outside lanes bode well for next week at Nationals on the Cooper River race course in Camden, NJ.

The freshman men, fresh off a silver medal performance at the Virginia state championship, got the regatta off to a fast start, finishing their time trial in twelfth place and earning a spot in lane five for the afternoon's semifinal. Joining them in the first semifinal were: Winter Park of Orlando, FL: St. Augustine of NJ, Bishop Eustace of NJ, the Lawrenceville School of Princeton, NJ, and Egg Harbor Township HS, also of NJ. The Patriots held their own, and finished third in the semi in a time of 4:44.9, one place short of qualifying for the grand final but well back of Winter Park, the eventual event winner which took first in the heat in a time of 4:30.5. This third-place finish is likely the highest-ever finish by a Yorktown freshman men’s eight at Stotes. Congratulations to coach Steve Cauffman and the Class of 2015! 

The freshmen women came down the time trial course next and recorded Yorktown's best time trial result of the day, cruising to a seventh-place finish with a time of 5:03.8—only four seconds out of the top spot! With hopes running high the Patriot women headed out to a coveted inside lane and lined up for their semifinal in lane 2, with T.C. Williams in lane 3, Holy Spirit in lane 4, Bethesda-Chevy Chase in lane 1, Lawrenceville in lane 5 and Manhasset in lane 6, with only two able to advance to the final. The race was turned upside down as BCC, just the number 13 seed from the time trial, charged into the lead from lane 1, passing the surprised YHS freshman women and going on to win the event with favorites T.C. Williams and Holy Spirit finishing second and third, leaving the Patriots in fourth. The race was a game effort from a crew that has shown flashes of brilliance all year and shows that the women's class of 2015 could be another vintage year with many great YHS seasons ahead. Coach Heather Young's legacy continues as a builder of fast and enthusiastic women's crews.

The rest of Friday saw the varsity time trials grind their way through. The men’s 3V crew, rowing in the tough Junior 8 category, finished 22nd and did not make the top 18 to qualify to move on. The YHS women’s 2V, rowing as a Junior 8 did qualify, finishing at number 14. The men’s lightweight 4 experienced a number of equipment glitches and finished well back. The 2V men rowing in the second varsity 8 category qualified in the number 11 spot in this 12-to-advance category but drew lane 6 for their Saturday semifinal. The YHS women’s 3V, rowing in the second varsity 8 category, were a bit over-matched, but made a game effort and finished nineteenth in the 12-to-advance format and were done. In the two senior 8 categories, Yorktown qualified both varsities for the semis as they have each of the last 3 years, with the men coming in the number 12 spot, with the women at number 14. This would put the men in lane 5 and the women in lane 1 for the semis.

The team enjoyed a great dinner together at Bistro Romano Friday night. This was the second year at this venue and the team loved it; kudos to the Stotesbury parent team for another great time and fabulous meal.

Saturday is the big day at Stotesbury and the four Yorktown crews set to race in the 2012 semis knew they would be facing the fastest competition yet this season.  

The women’s JV8 was the first to head out. The Patriot 8 was slotted for lane 1 and would face a field of Lake Braddock, the Virginia state champs, in lane 2, Montclair in 3, Holy Spirit 4, Owen J. Roberts 5, and Shaker in lane 6, with only two to advance. The two New Jersey schools in lanes 3 and 4 rowed away from the field and left the trailing crews open water back with YHS holding on to 5th. Montclair won it in a time of 5:00.6, YHS finished with a time of 5:20.8. The Patriot ladies rowed the most powerful race of the season and finished thirteenth overall in the JV8 event, which started with 42 entries—a great showing for Yorktown! 

Next up was the men’s 2nd varsity 8. In this 12-to-advance format from the time trial there would be three to advance from two semifinals, but the Patriot 2V drew the slowest lane for their race, the dreaded lane 6 next to Fishers Island where the current flows markedly less than in the middle lanes. The silver-medal winning boys from VASRA were determined not to let their lane assignment slow them and they took the race to the inside lanes. Lined up against them were the Brunswick School in lane 5, Chaminade in lane 4, St. Albans in lane 3, LaSalle in lane 2 and Walt Whitman in lane 1. In a huge and courageous race the Patriot 8 blasted off the line with the leaders and put both Brunswick and Whitman well behind them by the Strawberry Mansion Bridge and hung on to the leaders until the final 200, finishing only half a length from qualifying. They also were one of the highest finishing crews from lane 6 all day. Sadly though, the hard lesson from this event is at Stotesbury the time trial results do matter a lot, as lanes matter a lot. Had this crew been situated in an inside lane they would have had a very good chance of making the top three. St. Albans ended up winning the grand final with Chaminade in third and Gonzaga in second.

After a long series of events the next crew out for Yorktown was the men’s senior 8. Situated in lane 5 the Patriots lined up with Oakton in 6, Chaminade in 4, St. Albans in 3, BCC in 2 and Winter Park in Lane 1. In another fine race, the Yorktown 1V clocked its fastest time of the year, 4:16.8, good for fourth place behind St. Albans at 4:11.9, Chaminade 4:13.5 and BCC in 4:14.8, with Winter Park and Oakton trailing. YHS ended its 2012 Stotesbury run with the ninth-fastest time in the semifinal found, the team's best finish in at least six years. In a thrilling all-private-school grand final, Gonzaga held on to edge Ridley by less than one second, with St. Andrews third and St. Albans fourth.

The final Yorktown event at Stotesbury was the women's senior 8 semifinal, which had YHS in lane 1, with St. Andrews in lane 2, Mount St. Joseph's in lane 3, Holy Spirit in lane 4, BCC in lane 5, and Bishop Ireton in lane 6. The women from Mount St. Joe’s, the eventual grand final winners, took command of the semi and led the pack from the start with a time of 4:43, followed closely by St. Andrews and Holy Spirit, with 10 seconds back to BCC and Yorktown, with Bishop Ireton trailing. The Yorktown women came within three seconds of WMIRA champions, BCC, and were extremely pleased with their race. The Yorktown women posted a sub 5 minute time in both the time trial and the semifinal and finished an impressive fourteenth overall. In the grand final for the women, it was Mount St. Joe’s taking the gold, followed closely by National Cathedral, with Madison third and Winter Park fourth in a photo finish that was so close, both Winter Park and Madison headed into the return dock not knowing who won the bronze medal. The Lady Patriots are proud of NCS and Madison for their strong performances in the final. 

Yorktown will be taking five crews (freshman men’s 8, men’s 2V and 1V, and women’s 2V and 1V) to Nationals in Camden, NJ on May 25-26 looking to crack into at least one grand final and aiming to improve on the 6th and 8th place finishes of the varsities in 2010—the program’s best combined finish ever.

See you there!

--Full results for both days can be found at http://stotesburycupregatta.com/