By Treeby Brown
Racing without lanes on a swollen, muddy Schuylkill River, the James Madison Women’s Second Varsity bested their 2013 silver medal by winning gold at the Stotesbury Cup Regatta in Philadelphia—the oldest and largest high school regatta in North America.
After a close start, Madison powered ahead of second place finisher Merion Mercy (Merion, PA) to win by 2.74 seconds. The Women’s Second Varsity was the only boat from Fairfax County to win a medal at the Regatta.
Torrential rain on Friday meant that all Madison boats were forced to race in challenging conditions, including navigating debris and rising waters. Both the Women’s First Varsity Eight and the Women’s Freshman Eight advanced to the semi-finals.
The Women’s Freshman Eight was able to race in a semi-final, just before racing was halted. On Saturday morning, race officials made the “heartbreaking” decision to cancel semi-finals, which meant that Madison’s First Varsity Eight (the defending champion) was not able to row.
All other competing boats, the Men’s Freshman, First and Second Varsity Eights and the Men’s and Women’s Junior and Lightweight Fours had strong showings at the Regatta—generally placing in the top half to two thirds of very crowded time trials (with 60 plus entries in the Junior 4s, for example).
Next weekend, Madison will take five boats ( Women’s Freshman, and the Men's and Women's First and Second Varsity Eights) to the Scholastic Rowing Association of America Championships at Mercer Lake in New Jersey.