Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that the National Cathedral rowing team won last year’s Stotesbury Cup Regatta. The team placed second, behind Mount Saint Joseph (Pa.). This version has been corrected.
Last season, Anne Bertram and the first eight from National Cathedral waited until the end of the season to assert themselves as the top girls’ boat in the country.
This season, with a Scholastic Rowing Association of America championship and a second-place finish from the prestigious Stotesbury Regatta on their résumé from a year ago, Bertram knows that her boat won’t be sneaking up on anybody. The Eagles are racing with a target on their back.
That target didn’t slow National Cathedral down Saturday at the Charlie Butt Regatta on the Potomac, where the girls’ first eight cruised to a win in the final in 5 minutes 12.8 seconds. The Eagles were 7.2 seconds faster than second-place T.C. Williams and 9.3 seconds better than third-place Oakton.
“We have to be a lot more intense and we really have to watch out,” said Bertram, the only returner of National Cathedral’s three All-Met rowers a year ago. “Everyone knows that we’re coming, and we just have to be even more focused because of it. We can’t take anything for granted, no days off. . . . It makes every race more important.”
Saturday’s was the last multi-team regatta that National Cathedral will row in before the Virginia Scholastic Rowing Association championship, the only major regatta the Eagles didn’t win last season. After peaking too late to win one last year, Bertram said bagging a VASRA championship is a priority for National Cathedral.
“Last year we peaked at Nationals, which was great, but this year we are trying to get more speed into states and Stotesbury and put our race together a little bit earlier than we did last year,” Bertram, a junior, said. “We do want to go and put the best race together we can and win Virginia states.”
In the last race of the day, St. Albans took first place in the boys’ first eight, crossing the finish line along the Georgetown Waterfront in 4:35.2. The Bulldogs finished 4.3 seconds ahead of second-place Jefferson and 8.6 seconds ahead of third-place Washington-Lee.
The race was the last tune-up for St. Albans ahead of next weekend’s Foley Cup with Gonzaga, the defending SRAA national champion. The Bulldogs finished just one second behind the Purple Eagles in last year’s national championship and next week’s race on the Anacostia River will be a measuring stick for the remainder of the season.
“Gonzaga is our main competition in the area, and to some degree, nationally,” Bulldogs returning All-Met Woody Atwood said. “We came in second to them last year at Nationals, so next week will tell us a lot about what’s going to happen at the end of the season.”