April 5, 2008
Baltimore, Md. - written by Dan Keenan - special To LoyolaGreyhounds.com
The Loyola crew team competed successfully again this past weekend. Competing in the Johns Hopkins Invitational this past Saturday, the rowing team finished strongly, matching up with some of the strongest powerhouse teams of the Mid-Atlantic, including George Mason, the University of Maryland, Old Dominion University and University of Mary Washington.
The Hounds, who raced on a course they share with Johns Hopkins here in Baltimore, endured high gusts of wind throughout the day -- at one point suspending all races until a call was made to resume to schedule of events.
Looking to demonstrate their confidence and improvement from last weekend, the team fielded an array of different boats, from a men's pair to a group of four and eight-person boats. Every very boat seemed to have their own success story -- with many earning distinguished finishes in the final heats of their event.
Starting off the morning early, the Men's Pair, rowed by seniors John Searls and Matt Spalluzi took second, setting the tone for what turned out to be a streak of high placings in the many heats Loyola entered. Loyola's Women's Varsity Eight, led by senior Nikki Yaeger, advanced to the Grand Final, and finished third overall later in the day with a time of 6:48.79, They were edged out of second place by the University of Mary Washington by 1.78 seconds."It was a nice heat," said their Coach, Al Ramirez. "They edged out University of MaryWashington in the middle third of the race, but were surprised by Lafayette's strong middle thousand in the final." A sharp Lafayette went on to first place, less than five second ahead of the Hounds.
The Men's Varsity Eight, rowed by Devin Marsicovetere, Nick Miano, Marc Hesse, Dennis Delany, Zach Reichenbach, Jack Vitanovec, Dan Reardon and Cody Kishur fought hard against the conditions and their opponents for a narrow first place finish in their initial heat against University of Mary Washington. Advancing to the Grand Finals, their boat raced the length of the course in a virtual deadloock with George Mason's Varsity Eight, until the last second. The hounds outsprinted Mason to the line, taking first with a 0.77 second lead and a fast time of 5:40.28.
Fighting off high swells in the inner basin's water during their qualifying heat, the Men's Varsity Four, coxed by freshman Rachel Tarini and rowed by Dennis Delany, Zach Reichenbach, Tom Bellew and Daniel Keenan, advanced to the Petite Final where they took first place with a time of 6:46.07. It was a "solid finish,considering the newness of their line-up " said Ramirez. "Their first heat was tense -- it was these rowers first time rowing together -- yet Dennis Delany gave a strong debut performance stroking the boat. You could definitely tell the stroke of the rowers in the boat improved from their first heat race to their final heat."
Also taking a first place finish in a finals heat was the Men's Novice Four -- a race that was suspended until the end of the day due to the weather -- consisting of Mike Mikula, Josh Tarini, Zuri Malick and Sean Baker.Ramirez, afterward said, "These guys put in a solid win, but still have some technique to refine. But it was a good start."
Coxing the Men's JV Eight, coxswain Rachel Tarini and the boat's rowers, Mike Mikula, John Searls, Travis O'Neill, Josh Tarini, Zuri Malick, Maciej Owsianny, Alex Canale and Daniel Keenan, found themselves in a hard fight for third place in their Grand Final race."They got off to a solid start but their pace just seemed to evaporate in the second half of the race," noted their coach. It was their head-to-head match up with the University of Maryland where their pace would either make or break their standing in the end. In the last 200 meters the Hounds powered up and were able to overtake Maryland's Eight as the Terps struggles in the rough water. They ended with a comfortable third place finish overall, clocking in the 2,000-meter race at 6:28.28.
"Overall," said Al Ramirez, "A good race day for us. We showed some good competitive mettle in some hard fought wins against some strong teams. Lafayettes crews really earned our respect today. We knew Mason and Mary Washington were going to be coming at us with everything they had and our mistakes cost us in the womens v8 and the mens 2v."
But with some of the biggest races coming up in the next few weeks, including the MAAC Championships in two weeks, Coach Ramirez showed his concern for the team to remain focused on each upcoming contest."George Mason and UMW showed us some very sharp rowing and we are going to have to continue to sharpen up our mentality and even develop more power if we hope to end the season on top."
The Hounds face some of the nations best next weekend on the Cooper River, in Cherry Hill, NJ as the compete in Villaova's Knecht Cup Regatta.