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Prep rowers are headed to Henley

The Hawks' varsity eight will compete collegiately in the event on the Thames.

The St. Joseph's Prep's rowing team has accepted an invitation for its varsity eight to compete at the Henley Royal Regatta on the Thames in Henley-on-Thames, England.

This will be the Hawks' fourth trip to Henley in 10 seasons. They also went in 1999, 2000, and 2005.

The Regatta will be held July 2-6.

"Obviously these invitations are based on your credentials," said Hawks coach Bill Lamb, who has been with the program since 1981. "Those are developed through the year and also through the history of the program."

All nine members - eight rowers and a coxswain - of the varsity eight are seniors and will compete collegiately.

Coxswain Kyle Moyer (Delaware), stroke man Mike Protesto (Princeton), John Scanlon (Princeton), Ryan Sudeck (Stanford), Kevin Kennedy (Penn), Vince McLaughlin (Trinity), Jim Voter (Cornell), Steve Connors (Syracuse), and bow man John Votta (Princeton) make up a group that Lamb believes is "far and away the best we've had."

"That's saying a lot when you have a tradition as rich as ours," Lamb said.

Lamb said it was the first group he has had that has gone completely undefeated, including practice sessions with colleges and universities. The Hawks have trained with and beaten the Princeton freshman heavyweight crew, the Naval Academy freshman heavyweight crew, and the Fordham varsity lightweight eight.

St. Joseph's Prep won the high school eight at the Head of the Charles in Boston in the third week of October, a victory Lamb said revealed that the Hawks "were on the cusp of something very special."

The Henley Regatta was first staged in 1839 and, Lamb said, stays true to its heritage.

"It's an event that is literally frozen in time," Lamb said. "Women have to wear dresses to spectate, and gentleman wear coats and ties. It's an athletic event like no other. For the boys to see that culture up close and for rowing to be at the center of that experience is something they'll remember their entire lives."

Lamb estimated the cost of the trip at $75,000. A fund-raising event is scheduled for June 19 at the Prep boathouse.