Navy Lightweights Open IRA National Championship with Strong Day One
WEST WINDSOR, N.J. – The Navy lightweight crew kicked off action at the 2018 IRA National Championship with a trio of top-level results on Friday at Mercer Lake. Entered in varsity eight, varsity four with a coxswain and varsity four without a coxswain races, the Mids went three-for-three in advancing their crews into Sunday’s Grand Final action.
"It was great to see all three of the Navy Lightweight entries punch their tickets to the Grand Finals at the 2018 National Championships,” remarked head coach Shawn Bagnall. “The Varsity 8+ started the day well, but those guys weren't overly pleased with their piece down the course. They'll have a chance to iron out a few things in practice on Saturday before putting their best effort together in the Final.”
The Mids’ first varsity eight crew raced in heat one of two on Friday and finished in third place with a time of 5:53.562. Knowing that the top-three boats in the heat advance into Sunday’s Grand Final, the Mids clocked in 3.275 seconds clear of fourth-place Mercyhurst. Navy’s V8 was 1.942 seconds off the pace of Harvard, who finished second in the heat. The Grand Final on Sunday is slated for 11:40 a.m.
Navy’ varisty four with a coxswain crew was in the thick of the action at the front of the five-boat field as it was neck-and-neck with Georgetown before the Hoyas edged out the Mids, 6:32.267 to 6:33.382 for the heat victory. Navy’s V4+ completed the 2,000-meter race 4.42 seconds ahead of Harvard (6:37.802). The Grand Final for the varsity four plus is scheduled for 9:10 a.m. on Sunday.
The Mids’ final entry on Friday was their varsity four without a coxswain boat. Navy’s V4- crew was the class of the field at Mercer Lake with a heat-winning time of 6:18.353. The Mids defeated the Columbia Lions, by 1.899 (6:20.252). The fastest time in heat two on the opposite side of the bracket was a 6:22.284 by Princeton. Navy will race as the top seed in Sunday’s Grand Final at 8:20 a.m.
“The athletes in the varsity fours handled the random draw for their heats well, and established the right tone early in their races,” said Bagnall. “Coach Sands did a tremendous job selecting those boats and preparing them for this moment.
“All three boats know there is work yet to be done. We have no doubt these athletes will be take nothing for granted, and will be putting purpose to each stroke this Sunday."
All three teams will off from competition tomorrow with practice sessions scheduled before getting back into championship action on Sunday.
Columbia – 5:48.743
Harvard – 5:51.710
Navy – 5:53.652
Mercyhurst – 5:56.927
Next Up: Grand Final at 11:40 AM (Sunday)
Varsity Four w/Coxswain
Georgetown – 6:32.267
Navy – 6:33.382
Harvard – 6:37.802
MIT – 6:40.635
Fairfield – 7:09.777
Next Up: Grand Final at 9:10 AM (Sunday)
Varsity Four w/o Coxswain
Navy – 6:18.353
Columbia – 6:20.252
Cornell – 6:20.465
Temple – 6:21.313
Georgetown – 6:38.108
Next Up: Grand Final at 8:20 AM (Sunday)