Holy Ghost Prep rowing had a full weekend again for its final weekend of the “regular season” on April 21-22. The highlight was the first-ever home race in HGP rowing history on April 21 in Langhorne, Pa., against Harriton High School. HGP swept every race it entered under bright sunny skies and spectators from all around Lower Bucks County.
Holy Ghost Prep has been practicing in Core Creek Park, on Lake Luxembourg in Langhorne since the fall of 2016, but has never hosted a home race until this spring. Lake Luxembourg supports four-across racing for 1,500 meters, the standard high school distance for spring racing. With the help of John Musial, the head coach at Villa Joseph Marie and an experienced rowing referee of almost 30 years, Holy Ghost Prep and Villa Joseph Marie hosted Harriton High School for a morning of fast racing. HGP entered a novice four, a lightweight four, two JV fours, a JV eight, and a varsity four—all of which won. The day ended with combined eights from the two schools racing each other in a 500-meter sprint. All in all, the first home rowing race in Holy Ghost history was a great success.
The next day, the HGP team returned to the Schuylkill River for the last Manny Flick race of the season against competition from around the region. The novice four team of Joel Bevenour ’21, Danny Featherstone ’21, Mike Piscopo ’20, Sean Costigan ’21, and Isaak Rubis ’21 raced in a time trial format, coming in with the second-fastest time overall. The JV Eight boat of Will Adams ’19, Beckett Chapin ’19, Connor Bautz ’20, Nick LaRosa ’20, Brendan Gibbons ’19, Pat Wert ’20, Derek Swider ’19, Matt Zwiercan ’20, and Isaak Rubis ’21 also raced a time trial and placed 16th but closed to within seven seconds of the top 10, and after having all raced twice the day before.
The lightweight four boat of Tom Geib ’19, Aidan Bell ’20, Alex Danna ’18, Anthony Dattilo ’18, and Sam Hicks ’20, which had been undefeated until this past Sunday’s Manny Flick race, was picked off by Oakcrest High School and La Salle High School, with the top three schools finishing within four seconds of one another. Given the two incredibly fast finishes in the other heat from Atlantic City High School and Father Judge, the lights will be seeded fifth overall in the City Championships in two weeks. The varsity four team of Shawn Donohue ’18, Nick Braun ’21, Anthony Cancelliere ’19, Jack Boyle ’20, and Grayson Bautz ’19 finished fourth in their top-seeded heat, behind a new-look Haverford School lineup that blew the next boat away by almost 10 seconds. HGP also finished behind Oakcrest High School and Don Bosco Prep; they’ll be seeded fourth in the huge (30+ boats) varsity four field at Cities.
With three boats expected to make the finals (top six) at the Philadelphia City Championships, one of the country’s toughest rowing leagues, it’s shaping up to be an historically successful third year for the HGP rowing program. Holy Ghost Prep heads north this upcoming weekend for the Saratoga Invite, racing hundreds of clubs and schools from around the Northeastern U.S. and Canada over two days. The following weekend (May 8-9), the Firebirds will race in the City Championships on the Schuylkill River.