April 19, 2009
Princeton Junction, N.J - The Loyola College crew teams saved their finest all-around performance for the grandest stage of the season and as a result, the women's team took first-place honors and the men runner-up at the Metro Atlantic Conference Championships on Sunday at the Mercer Lake Rowing Facility. The win gives the Greyhounds and Head Coach Al Ramirez, who was awarded MAAC Coach of the Year afterward, the program's first conference title since 2005.
"This is a great win for us and I couldn't be happier for our kids," said Ramirez. "We really rowed exceptional all day, and to take home the MAAC Title means a lot to our team and to our program."
The MAAC Coach of the Year , voted on by league coaches, is third such accolade for Ramirez, who has served as Director of Rowing/Head Coach for the Greyhound program for eight seasons.
"It is a great honor, but all of my credit goes to my assistants for their tireless dedication and help in directing this program. I couldn't have done it without them."
In the women's competition, the Greyhounds took home their third conference trophy with 174 points, barely edging Marist (170 points), followed by Fairfield University (154), Iona College (131), Sacred Heart University (107) and Manhattan College (15).
On the men's side, the Red Foxes earned their 12th league title with a total of 179 points. The Greyhounds were the runners-up with 173 points. Iona finished in third place (156), followed by Fairfield (68) and Manhattan (17).
The women's team earned wins in the Women's Pair, Novice 4, LW4, JV4 and the Varsity 4. They finished second in the Varsity 8 and the Novice 8.
The Lightweight four, led by Kim Winiarczyk, and the Novice 4 led by Julie Rocuzzo, were especially dominant. The varsity four was a fantastic come-from-behind win that really showed the competitive nature of our rowers. It was a gutsy and impressive last 400 meters that not only held off repeated attacks, but lengthened the lead each of the last 15 strokes, said Ramirez.
"The women really did an amazing job. When we were looking at the matchups before today, we really thought we had a realistic shot to win," added Ramirez. "They rowed to their potential, and we did what we were supposed to do."
The men's team started the day off with a bang, winning the Varsity 8, the premiere race of the day, with a time of 6.33., edging out Marist by two seconds.It is the first time in the program's history that Loyola's V8 had beaten Marist. The women did it back in 2004 under Ramirez.
The men also finished second in the Varsity Four and lost by just four seconds to the Marist in the Novice 8. The Greyhounds picked up 15 points with a win, led by Jack Vitanoec, in the JV4 at a time of 7:48, 13 tics better than Iona.
"Getting a win in the Varsity 8 was really a great way to start off the day and it helped us gain some confidence going into the rest of the events," said Ramirez. "The point totals don't show just how closely our men were battling Marist rowers for these second place points, and how far ahead of the pack these duels took place.
"We had three races that didn't place as high as we'd hoped, but I'm not sure we could have asked for a better showing from either of the teams."
Loyola's next race will be at the Mid-Atlantic College Championship (MACCC) on May 3.