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Jun 21, 2021

CBA Lightweight Crew Team Comes from Behind to Earn Stotesbury Cup Crown

By Tim Morris

Photo by: Lisa Hansen Christian Brothers Academy’s Lightweight Crew Team members hold up the Stotesbury Cup after winning the Regatt held on the Schuykill River.

Christian Brothers Academy’s lightweight crew team (150 pounds and under) found themselves in an unfamiliar position at the Stotesbury Cup: trailing.

After dominating high school regattas throughout the spring, the Colts were in second place over the first half of the 1,500-meter race, held on the Schuykill River in Philadelphia. They were behind the team from Wilson High in the District of Columbia. The Stotesbury Cup is the biggest high school regatta in the country.

“It was terribly windy, and we were rowing into a headwind,” rower Joe DiBernardo recalled. “We were down off the start through 500 meters. At 800, we made our move.”

Once the Colts pulled even with Wilson, they were leaven. “The last 500 meters are the most important part of the race,” noted DiBernardo, a junior.

Photo by: Lisa Hansen Christian Brother Academy’s Lightweight Crew Team won the prestigious Stotesbury Cup held on the Schuykill River this season.

Dylan Wade remarked that the Colts were not going to be denied in the biggest race of the year. They were going to dig deep and put everything they have into holding off their challenger.

“The last couple hundred meters, we started rowing harder. We were not going to let anyone pass us,” the senior rower explained.

The Colts didn’t slow down and ended up beating Wilson to the finish line, rowing the metric mile in 5:17.38. Wilson clocked 5:19.38 in second. No other team was under 5:32 in the final.

The Colts’ lightweight crew consisted of DiBernardo, Wade, James Murrer, Matt Welch, and coxswain Grant Dorsi.

Wade credited the Colts’ coxswain (the steersman) with keeping the team from panicking.

“It was his (Dorsi’s) attitude in the middle of the race,” said Wade. “He remained cool and calm. He was very confident we’d be able to come back.”

The Colts added another chapter to the program’s storied tradition that dates back to 2004.

“We put our mark on the tradition. We passed it on,” said Wade.

DiBernardo, Wade, Murrer, Welch, and Dorsi have been a team for most of the spring. That helped them develop chemistry which is so important in what is a true team sport.

“We clicked the first time out,” said DiBernardo. It takes everyone working together for a crew team to succeed.

Hours of work together are needed for a team to reach that sync, and the crew team works as hard as any other athletic squad. The rowers have 30-minute workouts at 6 am before school, and after school it’s off to the Shrewsbury River for workouts on the water that can range from 500-meter intervals to mile-long rows. During the winter, the rowers can do up to 10,000 meter pulls on the rowing machine.

Winning the prestigious Stotesbury Cup, the rowers reflected, is a reward for all the hard work put into the sport.