Crew Plebes Find Success at Rutgers Fall Classic
NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. -- The freshmen corps of Navy Rowing was on display on Saturday at the Rutgers Fall Classic with competition in three team-scored races. The heavyweight, lightweight and women's teams raced their first-year athletes on the Raritan River over a 2.5-mile course in Men's Freshmen Eight, Women's Novice Eight and Varsity Four events. Testing each team's respective depth, the overall winners were judged on the total combined time between their even-strength `A' and `B' boats.
Taking on first-year crews from Delaware, Bucknell and Rutgers, Navy entered both its lightweight and heavyweight boats into the Freshmen Eight race. The Mids dominated the event with five of the top-six overall times. Navy's LWT B boat completed the course first with a time of 13:04, edging out Navy's HWT A boat by just 0.1 seconds. The second half of their respective even-boat partnerships finished with similar closes times with Navy LWT A clocking in at 13:30, while Navy HWT B turned in a 13:39 effort (a 30-second penalty was added to HWT B's original 13:09 time).
Those two combined times resulted in the lightweight freshmen winning the overall team event with a time of 26:34. The heavyweight pairing came in second overall at 26:44, though first amongst the three heavyweight teams.
"The lightweights had a good day," remarked James Sands, the lightweight plebe coach. "It seems like we've got some athletes in this Class of 2021, who are finding out that they really like to race. The `A' entry in the eight showed just that as they raced for much if not all of their race without a skeg. A big shout out goes to their coxswain for keeping the boat under control as well as she did. The `B' entry clearly made their case very well."
Racing separate from the team event, the Navy HWT C crew posted the fifth-best overall time in the Freshmen Eight event at 13:33.
"Today was a great day for the Plebes of 2021 and the whole "deeper fleet" of Mids who have been training hard all fall for a chance to race for Navy," exclaimed heavyweight plebe coach John Flynn. "To see the top two Plebe Heavy eights wrap up their fall by racing to within four seconds of each other on raw time was really gratifying, as was being able to field fully four eight of Heavies to race at this point in the fall. Having the third eight finish in the top five within 25 seconds was exceptional and that is, we think, the fastest 3F we have ever brought to this regatta."
The freshmen women were next on the Raritan for action as they went one-on-one with the host Rutgers Scarlet Knights. Racing in the same even-boat team-scoring structure as the men, Navy won the team event with a combined time of 31:58 as the Mids' A boat clocked in at 15:53 and its B boat was 12 seconds behind at 16:05. Rutgers B finished third to keep Navy from sweeping the top-three results as the Mids' C crew posted a time of 16:46.
Following a short break, the heavyweight and lightweight crews wrapped up the competition with racing versus Rutgers' varsity four crews. Similar to their showdown in the eights, Navy's lightweight team edged their heavyweight brethren in the team results. Aiding by an outright victory by its `A' crew with a time of 13:50, a fifth-place result by its `B' crew at 14:30 gave the lightweights a combined time of 28:20. The Mids' top-two heavyweight four boats finished back-to-back in third and fourth place with respective times of 14:01 and 14:28 for an aggregate time of 28:29. Once again, that placed Navy atop the heavyweight freshmen rankings.
"It was awesome to see our athletes have another good row in the fours, as well," said Sands. "It's going to be a fun winter working with this young group."
Flynn spoke after the meet about the uniqueness of the event and how it is an asset to the entire Navy Rowing program.
"Today we saw again how the passion and purpose of our walk-ons, and the competition this big squad can generate day in and day out on the Severn is the strength of the Brotherhood. We have known all fall that this is a deep plebe class for all three teams, and I am proud of how the Plebes showed their mettle and potential out on the race course today.
"Once again, Rutgers put on a terrific regatta, and we are grateful for their generosity in hosting an event that allows so many teams to give their newest athletes a great freshmen racing experience.
Sands shared a similar sentiment as "a big thank you goes out to Coach Wagner and Coach Farrell and the rest of the Rutgers staff for hosting this event."
Saturday marked the final action for the entire Navy rowing contingent in the fall as the teams will be now set their sights on the 2018 spring competition season. All three teams pick up their schedule in late March as the lightweights kick off their spring schedule with a March 24 matchup with Princeton at home before the heavyweights do the same on March 31 versus Princeton, as well. The women's program starts competition on March 25 at the Cooper Sprints in Camden, N.J.
Freshmen Eights (Field of 15)
1-Navy LWT B -- 13:04
2-Navy HWT A -- 13:05
3-Delaware LWT B -- 13:28
4-Navy LWT A -- 13:30
5-Navy HWT C -- 13:33
6-Navy HWT B -- 13:39
8-Navy LWT C -- 14:08
10-Navy HWT D -- 14:39
Team Combined (A+B)
1-Navy LWT -- 26:34
2-Navy HWT -- 26:44
3-Delaware LWT -- 27:11
Women's Novice Eights (Field of 6)
1-Navy A -- 15:53
2-Navy B -- 16:05
3-Rutgers B -- 16:29
4-Navy C -- 16:46
Team Combined (A+B)
1-Navy -- 31:58
2-Rutgers -- 34:33
Varsity Fours (Field of 9)
1-Navy LWT A -- 13:50
2-Rutgers V8 A -- 14:00
3-Navy HWT B -- 14:01
4-Navy HWT A -- 14:28
5-Navy LWT B -- 14:30
7-Navy HWT C -- 15:10
Team Combined (A+B)
1-Navy LWT -- 28:20
2-Navy HWT -- 28:29