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Lightweight Rowing Program Takes Home Four Medals at 2017 Eastern Sprints

The victorious 5V8 crew with its gold medals
May 14, 2017

WORCESTER, Mass. – Following a strong run of regular season action the Navy lightweight rowing team kicked of its postseason on Sunday with six boats competing at the 61st Annual Eastern Sprints at Lake Quinsigamond in Worcester, Mass. Getting a chance to showcase its depth with 54 athletes participating in races, the Mids came away with four medal-winning performances, including victories by its fourth, fifth and sixth varsity teams. As a program, Navy came in sixth place in the Jope Cup standings after the racing was complete versus a deep field of east coast institutions.

"There were some challenging conditions today for sure and our guys handled them as well as anyone. It was a bit of a slice of the Severn at times,” remarked head coach Shawn Bagnall. “We saw the awesome work that Coach Sands has been doing with our lower boats kick off the afternoon, going 3-for-3 with gold medals in the 4V, 5V, and 6V. Our 6V was racing up and finishing where they did in the 5V event was great to see. It was truly an impressive showing by all those athletes, and the wins in all three of those events is a testament to the commitment these guys have for their brothers and sisters on this team.”

In a day full of heat and championship final action, the fifth and sixth varsity eight grand final race was the first competition on the docket in the afternoon. The six combined 5V and 6V boats from Navy, Harvard, Cornell and Princeton took to the waters at 1:00 p.m. in the first of five championship races. The Mids’ 5V and 6V crews did their jobs and came away with first-place results for their respective classifications. The 5V boat edged Harvard’s 5V by a slim .468-second margin at 5:58.474 to 5:58.942 to win the overall race, while Navy’s 6V finished third overall in the combined race with a time of 6:05.080 ahead of both Cornell and Princeton’s 5V entrees and Harvard’s sixth crew.



Another direct-to-grand final race was held for the seven fourth varsity eight crews in Worcester. In a tight head-to-head bout, the Mids’ crew held off Princeton for a .432-second margin of victory at 5:51.300. The Mids and Tigers (5:51.732) cleared the field by over 3.5 seconds back to third-place Cornell.

The first team to compete in both qualifying heats and a grand final was the third varsity eight. After posting the fifth fastest time in the morning at 6:04.977, Navy came out in the afternoon and cut 9.501 seconds off its time to post a 5:55.476 result. Up against a fast quintet of racers, Navy placed fifth overall, though the team was only 3.355 seconds out of third place and bronze medal.

“The 3V definitely wanted more out of their final but they left it all out there,” exclaimed Bagnall. “They exited the water with no regrets today.”

Another extremely competitive race followed in the second varsity eight ranks as the Mids were part of a three-team pack with Harvard and Yale that parted itself from the field. At the end of 2,000 meters of racing, Harvard earned the title with a time of 5:46.553 that was less than two seconds ahead of both Yale (5:48.458) and Navy (5:48.525), who themselves were separated by just .067 seconds.

“That 2V final may have been one of the best races of a Navy Lightweight 8+ in my time here,” remarked Bagnall. “What a gutsy and aggressive effort down the course by the Mids that put them on the medals dock, just missing a silver medal.”

In the headlining competition of the day, the first varsity eight event, a 2.473-second loss to Yale for the last qualifying spot in the morning heat left Navy outside of the grand final. Racing in the petite final, Navy displayed its dominance amongst the four-team field with a first place result of 5:48.886. That outcome ranked the Mids seventh overall.

“The 1V had higher expectations for this regatta and certainly ran into an extremely tough heat,” said Bagnall. “In the end they fought to qualify their team for the National Championships for a fourth straight year and I am excited to see what they dial up in the final few weeks of the season.”

In the final standings for the Jope Cup, Harvard came away with the 2017 team title with 35.0 points to best its Ivy League counterparts in Yale (30.0) and Cornell (30.0). Navy notched 23.0 points, that came in just behind fourth-place Princeton (28.0) and Columbia (24.0). 

“Without a doubt this team is reaching a ‘critical mass’ toward repeatable winning performances,” concluded Bagnall. “I think those that have committed to making this a championship squad feel that momentum each day at the boathouse. I can't thank our outgoing Firsties enough for their dedication and leadership. We're going to miss them but they have left a great legacy for this young team to build on. Go Navy!"

Navy will continue postseason action in three weeks beginning on June 2 with three days of racing at the 2017 IRA National Championships in Sacramento, Calif. 


First Varsity 8

Petite Final
Navy – 5:48.886
Georgetown – 5:49.602
Dartmouth – 5:55.984
MIT – 6:02.003 

Second Varsity 8

Grand Final
Harvard – 5:46.553
Yale – 5:48.458
Navy – 5:48.525
Princeton – 5:51.141
Columbia – 5:51.984
Cornell – 5:53.029 

Third Varsity 8

Grand Final
Yale – 5:49.542
Princeton – 5:51.319
Harvard – 5:52.121
Cornell – 5:54.616
Navy – 5:55.476
Columbia – 6:08.001 

Fourth Varsity 8

Grand Final
Navy – 5:51.300
Princeton – 5:51.732
Cornell – 5:55.285
Harvard – 5:55.362
Yale – 6:04.563
Dartmouth – 6:12.934
Penn – 6:16.944 

Fifth/Sixth Varsity 8

Grand Final
Navy 5V – 5:58.474
Harvard 5V – 5:58.942
Navy 6V – 6:05.080
Cornell 5V – 6:08.247
Princeton 5V – 6:08.538
Harvard 6V – 6:18.082 

Boat Lineups 

First Varsity 8

Bow: Matthew Shirey, 2: Anlon McGuigan, 3: Sam Haber, 4: Andrew Schutta, 5: Noah Chaskin, 6: Ben Skinner, 7: Austin Treubert, Stroke: Kaden Dohm, Cox: Grace Albertson  

Second Varsity 8

Bow: Drew Bennett, 2: Matthew Walsh, 3: Hank Forsythe, 4: Brant McGuigan, 5: Patrick Watler, 6: Ian Best, 7: Ben Capannari, Stroke: Clay Jackson, Cox: Cullen Harper  

Third Varsity 8

Bow: Sean Williamson, 2: Robert Woods, 3: Morgan Whetstone, 4: Ben Blakeslee, 5: Theo Freidenrich, 6: Joseph Yates, 7: Will Herbert, Stroke: Brendan Philbin, Cox: Tera Geoffroy  

Fourth Varsity 8

Bow: Mitchell Bond, 2: Creighton Tarrant, 3: Dan Johnston, 4: Patrick Leech, 5: Bryan Colasacco, 6: Max Gelbach, 7: Dechlan Mercer, Stroke: Gracen Glaubitz, Cox: Christophe Theodore  

Fifth Varsity 8

Bow: Brent Niewoehner, 2: Joe Ellis, 3: Tyler Schatz, 4: Alexander Wieman, 5: Collin Snyder, 6: Brendan Finn, 7: Luke Robertson, Stroke: Leor Golan, Cox: Brianna Kauffman  

Sixth Varsity 8
Bow: Austin Bowman, 2: Luke Waldo, 3: Taylor Porges, 4: Jon Pyzdrowski, 5: Karl Schwarzkopf, 6: Jesse Hall, 7: Colby Ko, Stroke: Andrew Grothmann, Cox: Patrick Urrutia

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