Stotesbury Cup Regatta moved to Cooper River due to safety concerns

Haverford School rowers compete in last year’s Stotesbury Cup Regatta on the Schuylkill.

This weekend’s 92d annual Stotesbury Cup Regatta has been moved from the Schuylkill to the Cooper River in Camden County because of possible inclement weather and a rising current flow, race officials announced Tuesday afternoon.

“Right now, the Schuylkill is cresting at about eight feet,” Leslie Pfeil, president of the Philadelphia Scholastic Rowing Association, said Tuesday. “It we get more rain, it could go up even higher.”

>>READ MORE: Organizers say last-minute venue change is ‘unprecedented’

“While we might be able to hold the race on the Schuylkill, we believe we can stage the event in New Jersey,” the regatta leadership team said in a press release. “We are clear that ‘can’ is better than ‘may’ for the 6,000 student-athletes under our care.”

The regatta is scheduled for Friday and Saturday.  Pfeil is Stotesbury’s finish-line manager. “Making this change is going to be a huge undertaking, but safety is a priority,” she said.

Stotesbury is the world’s oldest and largest scholastic rowing event. This year, it features teams from 195 schools in the United States and Canada, 975 boats, and 31 championship events.

Craig Hoffman has been Malvern Prep’s coach for more than two decades. Last year at Stotesbury, the Friars won the senior quad in 4 minutes, 33.15 seconds.

“I applaud the Stotesbury committee for being proactive about making the switch in sites,” he said. “The current flow can really affect a race and make things more difficult for boats in certain lanes.

“The kids are a little disappointed about it because they associate Stotesbury with Philadelphia, but we’re excited as always to compete in the event.”

>>READ MORE: What you need to know about this year’s Stotesbury Cup

Malvern Prep’s senior quad is made up of stroke Johnny McGlinn, No. 3 seat Drew Brady, No. 2 seat Christian Franck, and bow Casey Lauder.

Lauder will continue to row at George Washington. “I put a lot of emphasis on the bow seat, and he’s done an incredible job at that position,” Hoffman said.

The Merion Mercy girls captured a pair of gold medals at Stotesbury last year, winning in the senior four in 5:27.28 and the lightweight eight in 4:57.01.

Montclair (N.J.) is looking to defend its boys’ senior eight title, which it won in 4:14.44. Ridley (4:22.41) and Episcopal Academy (4:23.15) placed fourth and fifth, respectively.

National Cathedral of Washington, D.C., prevailed in the girls’ senior eight in 4:55.58, with Mount St. Joseph taking third in 5:00.00.

Shenendehowa (N.Y.) won the boys’ senior double in 4:57.18, and Malvern Prep was runner-up in 4:57.44. Father Judge, which is guided by 45-year boss Phil Roche, won the senior four in 4:56.64.

Earlier this month in the PSRA city championships on the Schuylkill, St. Joseph’s Prep and Moorestown (N.J.) won the boys’ and girls’ senior eights, respectively.