April 13, 2008
Philadelphia, Pa. - Saturday's threatening thunderstorms hardly slowed the Rowing Hounds as they confidently raced through qualifying heats in the majority of their races at the Knecht Cup in Cherry Hill New Jersey
The Knecht Cup showcases the best of the Dad Vails championships schools against challengers from conferences across the country. 66 schools participated in the two-day tournament, which showcased crews from as far as Wisconsin, Tulsa, Harvard, Rochester and University of North Carolina.
Loyola seniors started the racing at 0700 with races in the mens and womens pairs events. Both lineups were very new, with the women's lineup decided only 2 hours before the friday departure time. Both crews raced well but were unable to advance. The men's crew of Reichenbach and Reardon had been handed an incredibly fast heat. Competing against national team rowers from Poland and very strong rowers from Colgate, their 6th place time would have earned a fine third behind U.Buffalo in the very next heat. The women, Ernst and Riley, gamely tested both a new shell and a new partnership and earned a win over Boston College but lost to Carnegie Mellon and NYU.
The Mens Varsity Four cruised to an easy Grand finals berth by winning their first heat. Stroked by sophomore Miano, the boat's "allowed the Hounds experiment with a new rhythm- and it proved to be fairly successful," said coach Ramirez.
The women's four was also impressive in their qualification heat. Taking 3rd in the heat earned them a berth to the petite final just ahead of host Villanova. Stroked by Yaeger and coxed by Drennan, the four moved ahead while conserving energy where they could for the long day ahead.
The men's light four continued the great pace of the morning by grabbing a petite final berth over a UNC and Penn State. Stroked by Spalluzzi and Searls the 4 fought to a 0.7 second win over the Tarheels in the final 250m sprint.
Although seeded near the bottom of an intimidating D1 womens field, the Women's Varsity 8, stroked by Yaeger and coxed by Drennan, hit the water with a great attitude-- intent only on producing their fastest race of the year. Although they hit their goal in true water speed, it was not enough to advance to the next round of 18. They were the 19th place finisher by only 0.3 heart-beaking fractions of a second. Although it was their fastest race than any this year, it was a bittersweet loss as it was the closest that the hounds have come to advancing the WV8 in this ever faster regatta and most felt they could have rowed a cleaner last 400 meters to save that 0.3
The men's varsity 8 stroked by Marsicovetere went to battle against an equally impressive field of 15. They were not aboe to catch Temple or Lehigh's men, but easily advanced to the Sunday B final with Bucknell, UNC, George Mason, Rochester, and Boston College.
The final boat to qualify was a revamped JV8, stroked by sophomore Delany. Finishing second in their heat behind Philly powerhouse Temple, the 2V men left no doubt that they belonged in the 2V petite final on Sunday.
Ramirez was satisfied and fairly pleased to see the crew advancing in so many events. He reminded the team that "just six years ago all but the women's novice four were eliminated before 10 in the morning on the first day of the event--we've come a long way."
He said "Getting the job done with the smallest team in 6 years was not easy, but the athletes appreciated the seriousness of the competition, put a genuine effort out there, and it paid off."
"Our day's focus was to have the athletes each focus on the performance goal of rowing, technically at their best for the full 2000 meters--to leave the course knowing that they had performed at their best as both individuals and as parts of the whole boat. This mentality makes the outcome somewhat incidental, but more satisfying with less external pressure. At the end of the day, that stretching of ourselves enabled us all to enjoy the race outcomes. We are pleased so far, and eager to row Sunday--but we know that against championship level schools like this it's `out of the frying pan and into the fire' of the finals."