Crew Finishes Out the Year On a High Note

The Phoenix crew team closed out their season by participating in the invitational Stotesbury Cup Regatta on May 20.


Courtesy of Rock Ridge crew

Members of the Phoenix crew team work on their boats during the Stotesbury Cup Regatta.

Nicolas Biernacki, Staff Writer

The Phoenix crew team was invited to the prestigious Stotesbury cup regatta for the first time since 2019. The Phoenix were honored just to be invited.  “[Stotesbury] is a really low stress environment, which is nice,” senior coxswain Nathaniel Issac Powell said. The large number of boats and teams competing at Stotesbury had reduced the stress for Powell. “I think they said 800 boats are participating this year, so if you don’t know what to do, you can always follow the person in front of you,” Powell said. 

Powell’s role as a coxswain makes him feel additional responsibility for the success and failure of his boat. “As a coxswain, I am responsible for not only steering the boat but also giving my rowers guidance and correcting them on form,” Powell said. Powell humbly doesn’t take too much of the credit when the boat performs well.  “Anything that goes wrong on the boat I am responsible for, while anything that goes right in the boat I am partially responsible for,” Powell said. 

The lack of anxiety about Stotesbury from Powell and other members of the team comes from the top. “[Stotesbury] will be a good experience more than anything; this will be a neat opportunity for the kids to see the size and magnitude of the sport of rowing,” team president Neal Matias said. That doesn’t mean that the team didn’t need to make adjustments for Stotesbury. Stotesbury is a head race, meaning that the boats go one at a time and marking their time as they go. This is different from a sprint race-the method of racing at most regattas-where the boats line up in groups of six and race to a point in the water.  

Stotesbury is the last ever regatta for senior members of the team. “We’re there [at Stotesbury] to compete, but we’re mostly there to have fun,” senior captain Samantha Smith said. The Phoenix were not the only competitors from Loudoun County at Stotesbury; rowers from Stone Bridge and Briar Woods are also competing at the invitational. Briar Woods shared a trailer with the Phoenix team for the duration of Stotesbury. “It’s an adjustment to not have our own equipment,” Smith said.  

The different Phoenix boats have developed friendly rivalries. “The boat that I coxswain, the junior four, has an ongoing rivalry with the senior four,” Powell said. Powell, in the spirit of this rivalry, made it his boat’s goal to finish with a faster time than the senior boys boat. 

The Phoenix junior boys boat finished 39th out of 51 competitors in the junior four heat with a time of 5:34.38. The Phoenix boat competing in the boys second four heat finished 18th out of 22 with a time of 6:18.77. The Phoenix senior boys boat finished 45th out of 48 in the senior four heat with a time of 5:52.36. 

The Phoenix team may not have had the fastest times, but the team still views Stotesbury as a positive experience. Senior captain Gavin Stevens was most excited to bond with his teammates at Stotesbury. “We’re there [at Stotesbury] to be together and get to know each other as a team,” Stevens said.