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Depth and Lower Boats Shine for Heavyweight Crew at Eastern Sprints

Navy's 4V8 crew after finishing second at the Eastern Sprints
May 14, 2017

WORCESTER, Mass. – The Navy heavyweight crew program began postseason action on Sunday with six boats racing in the 61st annual Eastern Sprints. When the day-long competition with both heat and finals racing was complete at Lake Quinsigamond in Worcester, Mass., the Mids’ fourth, fifth and sixth varsity eight boats all found themselves as recipients of medals for top-three results. As a team, Navy finished in 12th place in the Rowe Cup standings amongst a field of talented east coast programs.

"We had some mixed results today,” remarked head coach Rob Friedrich. “It was a bittersweet day as our 3V, 4V, 5V, and 6V boats all had great results in their finals, but our overall outcome was clouded by some disappointing performances by our top two boats in the morning heats."

After the Mids’ top-four varsity boats all competed in morning heat races, the championship action kicked off in the early afternoon with the grand final of the fifth varsity. With both its 5V8 and 6V8 crews entered in the event, Navy displayed excellent team speed as its 5V8 boat challenged Wisconsin for the title, while its 6V8 boat was passing the fifth teams from Brown, Princeton and Harvard. In the final standings, Wisconsin held off Navy 5V in a race that saw the teams trade the lead multiple times over the 2,000-meter course by a final time of 5:50.891 to 5:52.678. Navy 6V stood alone in third place with a 5:58.883 result, three-plus seconds ahead of Brown’s 5V.   

"The 5V and 6V started the afternoon finals with an outstanding performance,” said Friedrich. “Seniors Dan Weathers and Harrison Samario helped lead our sixth varsity earn a bronze medal for all the guys we had to leave at home. Our depth and development is very important to us at Navy and I thought our guys showed a lot of guts to row through fifth varsity boats from Princeton, Harvard, and Brown. All of our athletes in the 5V are returning next year and their silver medal will be a great stepping stone on their way up the ranks and creating speed in our top varsity boats."



The Mids’ fourth varsity eight was next up on the water in the grand final of its respective competition. After posting a qualifying heat time of 5:51.707 that was fourth fastest in the morning, Navy’s 4V came out in the afternoon and improved on its time and finished in second place in a very competitive final in which first through fourth place was separated by 3.095 seconds. Harvard edged Navy down the stretch and earned the victory with a time of 5:43.168, while the Mids clocked in at 5:45.731. Princeton and Boston University were right behind at 5:46.248 and 5:46.263, respectively.  

"Our 4V had a very special day,” said Friedrich. “They qualified comfortably in the morning heat race and then had an incredible race in the grand final. Even though they were seeded fifth coming into the weekend, they went toe-to-toe with top-ranked Harvard all the way down the course. The crew came up a little short but it was great to see them earn that silver medal. This is a boat that has just gelled together over the past few weeks and their commitment to each other was inspirational."

The only team to race in a petite final in the afternoon was Navy’s third varsity eight crew. After finishing third in heat number two in the morning with a 5:50.690 time, that was eighth overall amongst 17 crews, the Mids improved one spot in the final standings with a win in the petite final as a result of a 5:46.837 effort. Navy held off the trio of Boston, Cornell and Syracuse, who all were within 3.094 seconds of the Mids going back to fourth place.

"Our 3V was a little disappointed with their row in the morning heat, but they finished strong to win the petite final over some very fast crews from BU, Cornell, Syracuse, Dartmouth and GW,” exclaimed Friedrich. “Seniors Terry Renfro-Pihut and Ryan Adair helped lead that crew all year and were a key part of their success today."

The Mids’ second varsity eight struggled to gain traction in hopes of earning a top-level result at the meet as the boat posted a time of 5:48.433 in the first heat that sent it into third final action in the afternoon. Taking on a six-team field of Penn, Georgetown, Holy Cross, Rutgers and MIT, Navy finished in second place in the final with a 5:48.095 time. Penn won the afternoon race at 5:45.602.

"Our 2V was unfortunately off today,” said Friedrich. “We know they have a lot more speed to gain. Seniors Michael Pentaleri, Jonathan Wabeke, and Julia Foust are leading a relatively young crew that has three freshmen on board. The boat speed has been a little inconsistent, but there are some fierce competitors in there, who will help us for many years to come."

In the final race of the day, the first varsity eight, a tough performance in the morning heat left Navy fighting for placements between 13th and 18th in the third final. At the finish line of the Lake Quinsigamond course, Navy finished in second place for an overall rank of 14th. The Mids clocked in at 5:43.783 in the third final, 0.34 seconds ahead of the Georgetown Hoyas (5:44.213).

"Our 1V had a much better afternoon race,” remarked Friedrich. “They could not hold on to a very fast Northeastern crew, but show great sprinting speed against Georgetown to avenge an early season loss to the Hoyas. Seniors Scott Gibson, Sawyer Rogers and Kevin Leyland helped lead this crew all year with their experience and competitive desire. We look to those guys when the race is tight and the crew needs to finish strong."

In the final team standings for the Rowe Cup, Yale won the 2017 title with 38.0 points as the Bulldogs held off Princeton (35.0) and Harvard (35.0). Navy finished in 12th place with 6.0 points.

"Even though our top two boats struggled today, we have a great, young group of athletes and I believe we are on the verge on making some huge strides in our league," said Friedrich.

Navy will continue to put in work on the Severn River in preparation for a potential bid to the 2017 IRA National Championships out in Sacramento Calif. on the weekend of June 2-4. The Mids will find out their fate in qualifying for the national event on Tuesday when the entire field is announced. Navy will be looking to advance with an at large bid.


First Varsity 8

Third Final
Northeastern – 5:37.637
Navy – 5:43.873
Georgetown – 5:44.213
Holy Cross – 5:52.324
MIT – 5:54.704
Rutgers – 6:00.217 

Second Varsity 8

Third Final
Penn – 5:45.602
Navy – 5:48.095
Georgetown – 6:02.955
Holy Cross – 6:06.465
Rutgers – 6:07.110
MIT – 6:07.558 

Third Varsity 8

Petite Final
Navy – 5:46.837
Boston U. – 5:48.325
Cornell – 5:49.405
Syracuse – 5:49.931
Dartmouth – 5:51.117
George Washington – 5:56.464 

Fourth Varsity 8

Grand Final
Harvard – 5:43.168
Navy – 5:45.731
Princeton – 5:46.248
Boston U. – 5:46.263
Brown – 5:52.473
Dartmouth – 5:58.649 

Fifth Varsity 8

Grand Final
Wisconsin – 5:50.891
Navy 5V – 5:52.678
Navy 6V – 5:58.883
Brown – 6:02.050
Princeton – 6:11.122
Harvard – 6:13.921  

Boat Lineups 

First Varsity 8

Cox: Nick Street, Stroke: Scott Gibson, 7: Kevin Leyland, 6: Alec Gould, 5: Brandon Sagawinia, 4: John Lamb, 3: Andrew Knoll, 2: Gage Butler, Bow: Sawyer Rogers  

Second Varsity 8

Cox: Julia Foust, Stroke: Michael Pentaleri, 7: Zach Scholz, 6: Jack Gainer, 5: Jared Taintor, 4: Thor Gignac, 3: Jonathan Wabeke, 2: Charlie Linder, Bow: Nathaniel Auzenbergs   

Third Varsity 8

Cox: Eli Wood, Stroke: Joseph Merkel,  7: George Gilliam, 6: Michael Palaski, 5: Ryan Adair 4: Terry Renfro-Pihut, 3: Klaus Payne, 2: Owen Shenk, Bow: Caleb Robertson  

Fourth Varsity 8

Cox: Elise Odom, Stroke: Channing Martin, 7: Aaron Hanko, 6: Evan Camp, 5: Matthew Bute, 4: Owen Firebaugh, 3: Samuel Sasser, 2: John Heropolous, Bow: Dwayne Williams 

Fifth Varsity 8
Cox: Kathryn Fung, Stroke: Jacob Klosowski, 7: Michael Murphy, 6: David Russell, 5: Aaron Bullis, 4: Ben Dunphy, 3: Noah Stewart, 2: Matthew Gregory, Bow: Parker Novakovic 

Sixth Varsity 8
Cox: Cheyenne Coughlin, Stroke: Luka Bakic, 7: Daniel Weathers, 6: Eric Towe, 5: Robert Finch, 4: Harrison Samario, 3: Daniel Anthony, 2: Cedric Bevis, Bow: Zerek Olson

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