Stotesbury Cup Regatta: MHS Crew

The usually dominant program had trouble at Stotesbury Cup Regatta, with a young team, a competitive year, and bad refereeing decisions.

It was a tough day for Montclair Crew at the Stotesbury Cup Regatta.

Stotesbury Cup Regatta
Photo by Eve Mahaney for The Montclair Dispatch.

Montclair High School’s Crew Team had a tough day on Sat. May 21. The Stotesbury Cup Regatta, the oldest and largest scholastic rowing race in the world, is Montclair’s penultimate race of the season. Held on the Schuylkill river, Stotesbury Cup Regatta has over 31 championship events, which attracts teams from places such as California, Canada and Florida. Usually, Montclair wins multiple events against the dominant preparatory and private school crews that surround the Schuylkill river. Over the last 10 years, no public school team has won close to as many medals as Montclair has. Sadly, that dominance was not on show this past Saturday.

Many of Montclair’s crews were deemed to be strong this year, albeit young. With the New Jersey State Championships being cancelled this year due to dredging on the Cooper river, Montclair coaches and athletes were not able to judge their speed in relation to weaker New Jersey crews. Montclair crews didn’t have an issue advancing past the qualification stage, but in the semi finals they met by many highly competitive, confident crews from all around the country. Still, Montclair managed to make 4 finals, and medaled in 1.

The boys freshmen 8 placed 4th in their final, but to even make the final of freshmen 8’s is a success in itself. The boys JV four event, the largest event at the regatta with over 70 entries, seemed like a long shot for Montclair to medal in. After all, the last time Montclair medaled or won the event was with a boat that contained Nate Goodman and Justin Murphy, now collegiate rowers that have been invited to the U-23 National Team. On top of that, Montclair’s boys JV four was not a prioritized boat, meaning that Montclair’s best rowers were not in the boat. Still, that did not stop the four of Walter Collins, George Rogers, Hunter Mckenzie-Nozari, Eli Kline and coxswain Chloe Rosenberg from defying the odds and medaling in an extremely competitive event. Head coach Jeremy Michalitsianos was gladly surprised and very proud. “That four is a testament to what hard work can get you in this sport. It gives you the chance to prove everyone wrong. They proved me wrong, they proved expectations wrong, and now they’ve got themselves medals in one of the most competitive events here. I couldn’t be happier for them”.

The Stotesbury Cup Regatta would have perhaps been a bit more joyous if not for a refereeing call against Montclair that was felt around the whole regatta. In the boys JV 8 category, another extremely competitive category, Montclair medaled, or so they thought. After beating out the usually dominant St. Joseph’s Prep for 3rd place, Montclair was informed that they had steered into another boats lane, and were therefore docked 5 seconds, placing them 5th. This gave St. Joseph’s the medals, which was devastating for Montclair parents, rowers and coaches. In 2013, Montclair won the event after St. Joseph’s had won it for 7 years in a row, starting a rivalry that neither schools take lightly. Montclair coaches Jeremy Michalitsianos and Julian Canha fought tooth and nail to protest the decision, but the decision was upheld.

Still, Montclair took it all in stride, and at the end of the day, parents, rowers and coaches were all feeling like a good crew season had been accomplished. So much work from everyone goes into a crew season, and for everyone to be at Stotesbury Cup Regatta and have the opportunity to race is what the team is all about. Montclair Crew makes it’s way to Ohio next weekend for SRAA National Championships, where Montclair hopes to regain some of what they lost at Stotesbury.

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