Coach: J. D. Bridges (4th season at HGP), Head Coach, email@example.com
2017-18 season highlights: Bronze, City Championships (Light Varsity 4); semi-finalists, Scholastic Nationals (Varsity 4)
Graduating rowers competing in college: Grayson Bautz (Holy Cross), Shawn Donohue (LaSalle University)
2018-19 season outlook: Holy Ghost Prep's steady growth from a pair of eight-man boats competing in 2015-16 into a full-fledged rowing team that has already produced three Division I rowers in Zach Geiser, Shawn Donohue (both La Salle University) and Grayson Bautz (Holy Cross) has been sensational. And Bridges expects the program’s growth to continue throughout the 2018-19 school year, thanks to the promising performance of several underclassmen in the top varsity boat, an increasingly tough regional schedule, and leadership from the team's first four-year athletes, Will Adams and Anthony Cancelliere.
Rowing, one of the oldest Olympic sports and the oldest intercollegiate sport in the country, is the newest sport at Holy Ghost, having started in Fall of 2015. The team practices in the fall and spring at Core Creek County Park in Langhorne, PA and in the winter at school in the Holt Center. Rowing is one of the few sports in which most people have no experience before they come to high school. Anyone can join the crew - if you are willing to work hard!
We race in fall and spring around the Philadelphia region, both on the historic Schuylkill River as well as in New Jersey and at home in Langhorne at Core Creek. Fall races are long, timed pieces called "head races." In the spring we compete in shorter sprint races against private and public school teams as well as club teams from around the region; select crews go on to compete at the National Championships. We also travel overnight at least once per season and have smaller dual meets against prestigious local foes like Lawrenceville, Hun, Peddie, and others.
Always check with your coach if you have questions about the practice schedule. If there is inclement weather an announcement will be made at school before 1pm about practice location or cancellation.
Practice is at Core Creek Tuesday - Sunday.
Tuesday - Friday: 4 - 7 (vans leave at 4:00 from fieldhouse). Pick up is at Core Creek.
Saturdays and Sundays: TBA (we will usually be racing at least one day of the weekend).
J. D. Bridges, Head Coach - firstname.lastname@example.org
J. D. has coached high school rowing in the Philadelphia area for over a decade. His school crews have dozens of wins and medals at the Philadelphia City Championships, Midwest Junior Regional Championships, Mid-Atlantic Regional Championships, Stotesbury Cup, and SRAA National Championships.
He has coached extensively over the summers as well; his U-23 and U-19 crews have won five National Championships and had top-three finishes at USRowing Elite Nationals, USRowing Under-23 National Team Trials, and the Royal Canadian Henley.
J. D. has a Master’s Degree in Sport and Exercise Psychology with a focus on youth sports from Temple University, as well as law degree from Temple. He graduated from Haverford College in 2002 where he was captain his senior year.
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.
Practice and Regatta Locations and Directions
HGP Rowing practices on Lake Luxembourg in Core Creek County Park in Langhorne, PA. The location is the boat ramp and boathouse. There is no "real" address; this map will show you the location. The best entrance is the intersection of Tollgate Rd. and Park Rd.
Regattas are most often on the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia, PA. The best information about driving to these races is available on the website of our league, the Philadelphia Scholastic Rowing Association. It is a great course to spectate but tricky to get to the first time. Kelly Drive is shut down for most high school races.
(Some regattas in Philadelphia, however, have different parking rules. Information about those races will be posted as applicable.)
Mercer County Park, West Windsor, NJ. 1638 Old Trenton Rd. West Windsor, NJ 08550. Parking is usually in the west parking area and signs to the rowing area are marked after you enter the park.
Cooper River Park, Camden, NJ. Note that the directions on the site will take you the boathouse but not necessarily where we will be racing. Check with your coach.
Summer is a great time to get in some extra miles on the water and improve your skills as well as your fitness. For new or interested athletes, see below for HGP's rowing camp. Holy Ghost is only offering introductory camps this summer.