Freshmen Take Gold at Stotesbury


Credit: Jim Shannon

Will Jackson, Staff Writer

Torrential rain and apocalyptic winds did not prevent Western from taking home its first gold medal last weekend at the distinguished Stotesbury Cup.  The Freshmen Women’s Quadruple sculling boat, consisting of Ellie Ward, Mary Robertson, Kate Landis and Sloan Strong, won the gold medal in a boat named the “Mama Pitts,” a tribute to the late Myriam Pitts, the Western teacher who founded the rowing program roughly ten to twelve years ago. The same boat won silver at both the 2016 and the 2017 Stotesbury Cup.

The Stotesbury Cup rowing regatta had to be moved from the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia for the first time in 92 years to an alternate location due to the extreme weather conditions, though the second site in Camden NJ was not much better. “The conditions were hard and it was really hard to keep up your normal time since the current was against you,” said freshman Andrew Sime. The Stotesbury Cup is the largest high school regatta in the world, with over 5000 athletes from 175 schools attending in 2018. Despite the tough conditions and stiff competition, the WAHS rowing team, led by Head Coach Craig Redinger and five assistant coaches, managed to be very successful at the regatta, which was held on May 18-19. The meet is structured so that younger rowers may race in older categories-a freshman could row in a junior race, but not vice versa. Though the Freshman Women’s victory was very clearly the highlight of the regatta, though the other rowers in the other categories turned in strong efforts in spite of the harsh conditions.

A notable example is the Senior Women’s Quad. Hannah Carter (12), Lily Argenbright (11), Clare O’Connell (11), and Paula Peterson (12) finished fourth out of sixteen in their initial time trial, which was enough to advance them to the finals where they placed fourth out of six. Western also ran two Senior Women’s Singles-junior Spencer Stevens, who placed 23rd out of 32 rowers in the initial time trial, and Suzana Stoneburner, a senior at Rockbridge County High School who rows with the WAHS Crew, who placed 13th out of 32 in the time trial, and fifth out of six in the semifinal.

The guys worked just as hard.  The Men’s Senior Quad, consisting of Cooper DeVito (11), Will

Plummer (11), Noah Davis (12), and Men’s Captain Peter Dister (12), and the Men’s Junior Quadruple, with Santiago Burguever (10), Andrew Sime (9), Tee Dickinson (10), and Dylan Herring (10), both did remarkably well considering the heavy rain and wind.

This weekend, the team returns to Camden to compete at Nationals.