Navy Lightweight V4- Wins IRA Championship
WEST WINDSOR/PRINCETON, N.J. - A disjointed day of IRA National Championship action on Sunday saw a plethora of success come the way of the Navy lightweight crew program as the Mids won the varsity four without a coxswain title and placed fifth in the varsity eight race for the highest result in that respective event for Navy since 2010. The racing on Sunday started at Mercer Lake in the morning before winds made the location un-rowable and forced a site change to Carnegie Lake down the road in Princeton.
The first and only action at Mercer Lake saw Navy's first varsity eight crew in a stiff battle with a trio of teams for positions three through five in the Grand Final. Taking on Harvard and Penn, the Crimson pulled away over the 2,000 meters to take third place at 6:24.255. Penn and Navy finished in fourth and fifth with respective times of 6:26.130 and 6:28.429. Columbia won the national title for V8 crews with a 6:18.782 result. The fifth place finish was the highest for a Navy lightweight crew since 2010 and a two-spot improvement from 2017.
"It was an interesting day of finals for sure, but a great way for this group of athletes to conclude the 2018 racing season," remarked head coach Shawn Bagnall. "Kicking off the day, the Varsity 8+ had a race that was certainly more representative of their speed and had a solid piece in the Grand Final. I think they attacked the front-end of the piece better than in the heat, and moved with the field early on. The fifth place finish in the Varsity 8+ helped to solidify the positive impact that this group has had on our program this year, and while they train everyday to put forward podium-worthy efforts, I know they left their hearts out there on the Mercer Lake course."
After a delay and location change, the Mids came out ready to go at Carnegie Lake. The varsity four with a coxswain crew found itself squarely in the middle of the six-boat pack. Once again, the Crimson and Mids mixed it up over the course of the competition. At the conclusion of the race, Harvard edged Navy by 0.08 seconds, 6:42.87 to 6:42.95 to claim third place, while the Mids had to settle for fourth. Georgetown was the V4+ champion with a final time of 6:36.90. Princeton placed second at 6:40.19.
Following those two strong results, the highlight of Navy's day came in the third and final race, the varsity four without a coxswain. The crew of Matthew Pentaleri, Austin Treubert, Theo Freidenrich and John Schoenewolf earned Navy its second national boat title in as many years as they knocked off Princeton by 3.57 seconds to win with a time of 6:20.40. The Tigers clocked in at 6:23.97. The V4- gold medal result is the first in that boat class for Navy in its history at the IRA National Championship.
In 2017, the Mids varsity four with a coxswain won the national title.
"Recognizing that the athletes in the 4's had invested a great deal since Sprints to having a strong finish at the IRA, it was awesome to see the lightweight coaches rally together to run the cancelled 4's lightweight finals at Carnegie Lake," said Bagnall. "The Varsity 4- made the most of the opportunity, having an inspired piece to finish with the gold medal and open water victory. The Varsity 4+ ran a good piece as well, but struggled a bit in the crosswind, and just missed out on the bronze medal by 0.1 seconds. It was a tough finish, but our hats off to all the teams for bringing their best on this less-than-typical race day.
In the unofficial final team point standings, Navy finished fourth overall. The IRA organization did not oversee the V4+ and V4- races so the point totals are deemed "unofficial." The finishes of both the V4+ and V4- are official.
"The entire N150 team and coaching staff can't thank our parents, supporters, and alumni for making this a great season," exclaimed Bagnall. "We are grateful for the positive legacy that our outgoing Marine and Navy Officers are leaving. Their legacy to the Navy Lightweight program will be remembered as dedication to their teammates every day, leaving the team in a better place than when they arrived here on The Yard four years ago. I have no doubt the US Fleet will come to the same conclusion after their time in service to their country."
Sunday's championship action concluded the 2017-18 season for Navy.
Columbia - 6:18.782
Princeton - 6:19.514
Harvard - 6:24.255
Penn - 6:26.130
Navy - 6:28.429 **Fifth in Nation
Yale - 6:33.264
Varsity Four w/Coxswain
Georgetown - 6:36.90
Princeton - 6:40.19
Harvard - 6:42.87
Navy - 6:42.95 **Fourth in Nation
Columbia - 6:47.20
Yale - 6:54.90
Varsity Four w/o Coxswain
Navy - 6:20.40 **National Champions
Princeton - 6:23.97
Columbia - 6:25.21
Penn - 6:34.61
Harvard - 6:39.17
Cornell - 6:43.16