Holy Ghost Prep Rowing - 2016-2017 Season Summary
It was a great second year for Holy Ghost rowing. HGP had its first varsity races in the fall, and by the end of the season the team was consistently placing above the top half in the JV and V events that we entered. The team also had the first team trip, to Lowell, Massachusetts for the Textile River Regatta.
In the spring it took a while to hit for the team to hit its stride and they put in some tough races in Philadelphia along with a weekend of big-time competition at the Saratoga invite, against top club teams from across the nation. All the hard work paid off, though, and the squad ended the season advancing two boats at the City Championships (into the semis and the finals) and two boats at the Stotesbury Cup (both into the semis). This was a huge accomplishment for a second-year program. HGP Rowing also had a great showing at the Upper Merion Regatta, coming away with wins in the Frosh Four, Light Four, JV Quad, and Varsity Double.
This school year also saw HGP Rowing with its first college scholarship athlete, Zach Geiser '17, who was recruited to row at LaSalle University.
It was always clear that this was going to be a tough year and the coaches were most impressed, of all the accomplishments, at how eager the athletes were to work hard, compete, and how much they truly believed they could do the things that that kids who had been rowing 3-4 years at programs that had been around for decades could do. HGP Rowing looks forward to continuing to turn heads in 17-18 and aims to be back on the podium in larger races soon.
Holy Ghost Prep Rowing - 2015–2016 Season Summary
The first season of rowing at Holy Ghost Prep was filled with challenges - both expected and unexpected for a new program - but also a record of unprecedented success and most importantly, incredible athletic and personal growth for every boy who participated. HGP Rowing went from a complete unknown to a team everyone will be looking out for next year.
The fall began with a flurry of equipment acquisition and figuring out all these new terms – port, starboard, bow and stern just to start. On the water the team focused on learning how to row well and competed only once: The Braxton Memorial Regatta at Mercer County Park in New Jersey. HGP entered two novice eights and both boats acquitted themselves well in their first competition – their first time alone on the water without a coach, in fact! The B boat fought hard in their seven–person race and placed fifth. The A boat won their flight in convincing fashion, securing the first medals for Holy Ghost Prep Rowing in their very first outing. It was a start to a season that saw a lot more first-place finishes.
Over the winter the team managed a version of the intense “indoor training” most teams take for granted; with a combination of slightly used and quite used rowing machines in a storage room the boys put in the meters on the “erg,” as it’s known, and got their first taste of the dreaded “2k test” used the world over to determine fitness for rowing. Mostly, however, they kept learning how to row with good form and improve their overall strength.
The beginning of the spring saw a number of logistical challenges: the rowing location did not have docks in for several weeks so the team bounced around a few times before finally settling in. The weather was wet and windy through March and with limited practice time it was a struggle to teach the new boys who had just joined us how to row, as well as get everyone ready to race.
The first race the team was set to enter (the third Philadelphia Scholastic Rowing Association league race, called Flicks) was cancelled due to the weather; in the first actual competition at the fourth Flick HGP Rowing resumed its winning ways and won their flight with the A boat yet again. The B boat, with the newer and younger rowers, struggled to find its footing and finished sixth in their flight. The next weekend, however, the B boat finished third in their flight at the Mercer Sprints in Princeton and began an upward turn that would last through the season. The A boat also finished third. The next day at the final Flick there was only a time trial – every boat down in a staggered start and times taken. The B boat finished 18 out of 24 while the A boat placed first once again.
The final race of the season was the City Championships, with a time trial in the morning followed by the top six boats by time going on to the finals. The B boat made an enormous improvement, finishing 8th of 19 and just seven seconds away from making the final. They were the only “B” entry in the event and so beat a number of school’s “A” entries. The A boat from HGP finished the time trial with the fastest time of the day - again. In the final they crossed the line third but due to a highly unfortunate accident with clashing oars and a protest from another school they were not allowed to medal or place in the final.
Despite the tough end to the season for the guys in the A boat, the program as a whole left its mark on the Philadelphia rowing scene in a big way. The upperclassmen in the A boat are primed and ready to compete on the varsity stage next year and HGP will definitely NOT be considered an underdog despite their “new guy on the block” status. Long-time rowing coaches and observers from the Philadelphia area commented to HGP parents, coaches, and administrators through the season that the boys rowed incredibly well for novices. The athletes and coaches are looking forward to the competition, new rivalries, and challenges that rowing in Philadelphia and beyond always brings. It was an historic season for so many reasons, not least because of the incredible, unheard-of success this brand-new program experienced. The team is poised to be an important part of Holy Ghost Prep for many years to come.