Malvern Prep crew looks to continue winning ways at Henley

Spectators fish and watch some of the 1,564 athletes from 62 clubs competing in the 2017 Cooper Cup Regatta on April 30, 2017, one of a dozen regattas held or scheduled on the Cooper River this spring, where an Olympic distance 2,000-meter straightaway is widely known as one of the nation's best rowing venues. TOM GRALISH / Staff Photographer

In his 20 years as Malvern Prep's crew coach, Craig Hoffman has preached to his rowers the importance of focusing on the next event and not looking ahead.

That's been especially difficult lately, as the Friars are preparing to compete against the best schools and clubs across the world in the Henley Royal Regatta from June 28 to July 2.

Hoffman said the "hallmark of this crew is that they all went to become better scullers. The team is driven to win gold medals. They're very unhappy when they don't."

Malvern Prep is scheduled to leave for London on June 17. Twelve rowers and four coaches will stay with three host families in Wargrave, on the bank of the River Thames.

Hoffman and the Friars are making their seventh appearance at Henley. Three quads will vie with about 70 other boats in the qualifying rounds for one of 24 spots in the Fawley Challenge Cup. Henley is a 2,112-meter course.

Fueled by its hard work indoors during the winter, the 17-member crew has achieved major success since mid-March.

Malvern Prep's "A" quad claimed gold at the SRAA National Championships Regatta on Camden's Cooper River and at the 91st edition of the Stotesbury Cup Regatta on the Schuylkill.

The boat is made up of stroke John McGlinn, No. 3 seat Drew Brady, No. 2 seat Casey Lauder, and bow Wally Koch. All but Koch, a senior who will row at the University of California at Berkeley, are juniors.

The group crossed the finish line first at the SRAAs in 4 minutes, 33.86 seconds. It earned top honors at Stotesbury in 4:33.15.

The Friars' "B" quad at Henley will be made up of junior stroke Pat Keenan, junior No. 3 seat Andre Quintiliani, junior No. 2 seat Christian Franck, and senior bow Sean Ward. Ward plans to be a lightweight rower at Dartmouth.

Their "C" quad features junior stroke Ben Mankowski, sophomore No. 3 seat A.J. Wirtel, freshman No. 2 seat Aidan Gallagher, and sophomore bow Thomas Park.

Hoffman made it a point to recognize the contributions of his four assistants: Art Post, Lyons Bradley, Shane Madden, and Jackie Castorina.

Before leaving for the United Kingdom, Malvern Prep will take part in the USRowing Youth National Championships at Nathan Benderson Park in Sarasota, Fla., next weekend.

Merion Mercy's senior four, which also captured gold at Stotesbury and the SRAAs, will compete in the Henley Women's Regatta from June 16s to 18.

Crusaders flourish. Like Malvern Prep, Father Judge has excelled on the water this spring.

Guided by 44-year boss Phil Roche, the Crusaders' senior four was triumphant at Stotesbury (4:56.64) and the SRAAs (4:54.22).

The boat is made up of Nate Tennesen, Anthony Coelho, Jack Solecki, Joe Comas, and coxswain Jack Gosse.

Seniors Coelho (Penn State), Solecki (Drexel), and Comas (Delaware) plan to row in college.

This and that. St. Joseph's Prep junior defensive lineman Ryan Bryce has committed to play at Army. . . . Conwell-Egan sophomore running back Patrick Garwo picked up a scholarship offer from North Carolina on Thursday. He also has offers from Maryland, Syracuse, and Wisconsin, among others. . . . Jim Fenerty has stepped down as Germantown Academy's athletic director after 23 years. He will switch to a role in the college counseling department and continue as the boys' head basketball coach. . . . Two senior pitchers, Bonner-Prendergast's Evan Raiburn and Holy Ghost Prep's Peyton Birch, have committed to play at Fairleigh Dickinson and Hofstra, respectively. . . . With its 8-4 win Thursday over MaST Charter, Neumann-Goretti won its seventh straight PIAA District 12 baseball title and eighth in nine seasons. The last five have come at the Class 2A level.

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