Lightweight Rowers Garner Seven IRA All-Academic Nods
PRINCETON, N.J. – Seven members of the Navy lightweight rowing program were recently announced by the Intercollegiate Rowing Association (IRA) Board of Stewards as members of the organization’s 2016-17 All-Academic Team. A pair of May graduates, Patrick Leech and Matthew Walsh, highlight the collection of high achieving student-athletes as both earned the national honor three times over their careers. Sam Haber, a two-time honoree, as well as Drew Bennett, Ian Best, Clay Jackson and Ben Skinner round out the Midshipmen on the all-academic team.
To qualify for the All-Academic Team, a student-athlete must maintain a cumulative grade point average of 3.35 or higher, completed one full year at their institution (freshmen and first-year transfers are not eligible), be an institutional letter winner and competed at the 2017 IRA National Championship Regatta.
Leech (Honors History, 3.91 GPA) and Walsh (Mechanical Engineering, 3.73 GPA) continue the lightweight program’s stretch of multiple three-time honorees. Haber, a rising senior has a 4.00 GPA while majoring in mechanical engineering collects this national award for the second time in his career, while Bennett (Political Science, 3.86 GPA), Best (Electrical Engineering, 4.00 GPA), Jackson (Quantitative Economics, 3.7 GPA) and Skinner (Honors Systems Engineering, 4.00 GPA) all are first-time honorees.
In all, 336 student-athletes from 32 member institutions were recognized. Yale University led the way for men’s lightweight programs with 13 qualifying student-athletes.
The lightweight rowing team turned in a strong 2017 campaign that saw its varsity eight boat win three head-to-head cup races versus EARC competition during the regular season. At the IRA National Championships, the Mids’ three boats helped the program rank fifth overall in team point standings. A first place national championship winning performance by Navy’s V4+ crew was the highlight of the weekend at Lake Natoma. The title was the first by a Navy lightweight crew since 2012.