The 2008 & 2009 Girls' Varsity Crews
Inducted in 2019
From 2006-2009, the Peddie girls’ varsity crew did not lose a spring dual season race. Changing one or two members of the four-person crew plus coxswain should have disrupted the streak, but it didn’t. The girls were also Mid-Atlantic Prep League Champions, Philadelphia City Champions and Stotesbury Cup Regatta winners an unprecedented four years in a row.
The 2009 crew of Emily Boudreau ’09 (coxswain), Shelley Pearson ’09 (stroke), Reva Geier ’09 (3-seat), Erica Lockard ’09 (2-seat) and Sarah Libfraind ’11 (bow) continued in the post-season to win the Scholastic Rowing Association of America Championship (SRAA) and the USRowing Youth National Championship, both by two lengths of open water or what the British call “easily.” The crew traveled to England to compete in the Henley Women’s Regatta where they set a course record in the semifinal on their way to a second place overall finish behind Britain’s fastest scholastic girls’ crew, Lady Eleanor Holles.
The 2008 crew included Boudreau (cox), Pearson (stroke), Lockard (3), Erin Hawes ’08 (2) and Sheila Dave ’09 (bow). Hawes, the three-year veteran in the boat, had been part of the previous two national championship-winning lineups. Pearson was returning from her rookie year in the 2007 lineup. Although the crew “only” finished second at Youth Nationals, they could just as easily have finished fourth and been erased from the history books. It was a tribute to the program’s culture of excellence, and an instinctive drive to win, that they were able to hold off the charging third and fourth place crews by less than a second.
It is said that crew is the ultimate team sport. This was never more clearly demonstrated than during the 2009 season. The team was so deep that the JV crew finished third at Scholastic Nationals putting two of Peddie’s three crews in the national spotlight that year. Due to differing eligibility requirements between the City Championship used as the Youth Nationals qualifier, and Youth Nationals itself, Peddie had no choice but to substitute Bailey Yuro ’11 for Lockard. Yuro helped the crew qualify with a comfortable lead.
Following the Cities win, Pearson said, “We were all so nervous worrying whether we would qualify or not. It was funny afterward because members of the Merion Mercy team asked us if we were postgraduates. We laughed because Bailey and Sarah are both sophomores.” Yuro filled in again at the Stotesbury Cup Regatta. Following a huge nine-second victory, the impressed coach of runner-up Egg Harbor was stunned to learn there were only 15 athletes on Peddie’s roster.
Other key players in the 2009 season were Avery Steele ’11, who steered the varsity boat to its SRAA win when Boudreau was not available. Kumari Lewis ’11 and Jen Lombardo ’09, first boat members for the first half of the season, were the obvious choice to fill the dual role of spares for the Henley trip and competitors in the double.
The 2006 and 2007 crews were inducted in 2017. It is only fitting that the 2008 and 2009 crews join them in the Hall to keep the streak together. It was a remarkable run not likely ever to be repeated.