March 22, 2012
ANNAPOLIS, Md. -
The Navy lightweight rowing team will open its 2012 spring schedule this Saturday when meets it Princeton for the Murtaugh Cup on the Severn River in Annapolis. Action will begin at 7 a.m. with the second varsity race and the first varsity race will follow at 7:20 a.m. The first freshmen crews will compete at 7:40 a.m., followed by the third and fourth varsity boats at 8 a.m. and the second freshmen at 8:20 a.m.
The Murtaugh Cup was established in 2008 and is presented to the winner of the varsity race between Navy and Princeton. The trophy is named after the former Princeton and U.S. lightweight rowing coach, Joe Murtaugh.
Navy won the first Cup in 2008, but the Tigers have claimed wins in the last three races.
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The Navy lights enter the 2012 season as one of the deepest teams in Steve Perry's tenure as head coach. Despite graduating a large and very talented senior class last spring, the Mids return this season with several strong crews.
"We left a lot to be desired at the end of last year," said Perry. "We went back to the drawing board and we sort of started from square one. We've had some excellent training and as we enter the season, we're seeing results from the second varsity and first freshman boats that are fantastic. Our team depth is certainly our strongest asset."
While the Mids' roster features twice as many sophomores (18) than both the junior and senior classes, Navy has a solid group of experienced upperclassmen.
"We've got very strong junior and senior classes," said Perry. "Our sophomores have made great strides and have probably improved the most from last year. However, I would say that our entire team made more improvement from last year to this year than at anytime I've ever seen. That is very encouraging and motivating for everybody.
"We're rowing better than I've seen us row at this point in the season."
Entering the season, Navy's varsity boat features three Mids, in seniors Charlie Harty and Luke Kerrisk and junior J.C. Russell, that were a part of the same crew last season. They join seniors Josh Marshall, Chris Dinger, Walker Washburn and Thomas Paul and juniors James Laughridge and Andrew Tresansky in the first varsity boat.
"We have a lot of speed because we have some returning guys in the varsity crew," said Perry. "They are a very talented group."
While Perry is encouraged about what he's seen from the first varsity boat in training for the season, he is equally as excited about the team's second varsity.
"Our second varsity boat has been very strong early on. They are rowing great right now and have just been getting better and better," said Perry.
With the top two varsity boats making solid strides as the season gets ready to begin, the youngest Mids have also impressed.
"The freshmen had a terrific fall and went on to post some really strong erg scores in offseason training," said Perry. "The second freshman crew has really been rowing well this spring, too.
"From the bottom up, we have some very strong boats."
Navy's first freshman boat finished third at the Princeton Chase and the first and second freshman crews closed the fall by taking the top two spots at the Rutgers Fall Classic.
The season opener will be the first of three home races on the Severn River this season as the Midshipmen will also meet Georgetown, on April 14, and Harvard, on April 21, in Annapolis.
Navy will take on Yale (March 31), Columbia (April 7) and Penn (April 28) on the road this season before the EARC Sprints take place in Worcester, Mass., on May 13.
The IRA National Championships will be held June 2 in Camden, N.J.