May 13, 2007
Philadelphia, Pa. - Loyola Rowing fielded five boats this past weekend at the prestigious Dad Vail Regatta, the largest collegiate regatta in the United States. In all, 118 schools sent crews to race on the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia, and leading the way for the Greyhounds was the Men's Varsity 8, which raced into the semifinals for the third year in a row.
The premier performance for the Greyhounds this past weekend came from the Varsity Men's 8 crew of Devin Marsicovetere, Thomas Scida, Ed Garnett, Doug Brown, Cody Kishur, Tom Bellew, Jack Vitanovec, Dan Reardon, and coxswain Laura Fischer. The crew took to the water on Friday in a heat where the top two crews would advance to semifinals, while the last place crew was eliminated.
The remaining crew would get another shot to advance later on in the day. The Men's 8 placed third in this opening heat behind eventual grand finalists Army and Jacksonville, but beating LaSalle and Santa Clara, Head Coach Al Ramirez's alma mater. This third place finish awarded the Greyhounds an additional heat to try to advance to Saturday's semi-finals.
While the crew was upset that they had not been able to automatically advance, they had to keep their focus, as they would meet Mid-Atlantic rival George Mason in their next race. In a race very similar to the one a weekend before at the Mid-Atlantic Championships, the Men's 8 beat GMU by two seconds, taking first in the afternoon heat with a time of 6:08.54. While eliminating squads from Drexel, URI, and Michigan State, these top two teams would advance to race in the semi-finals on Saturday.
In one of the most exciting events for Loyola since Ramirez took over the program, the `Hounds Men's 8 was eliminated from contention by fast crews from Marietta, Army, Lehigh, and Delaware. In what the crew believed was their best race of the season, Loyola rowed a respectable time of 5:58.77, but that was not enough, as they missed racing in the petite finals by 5 seconds.
"We really wanted to make the petite finals this year," said senior captain Doug Brown. "We had never done it before and we thought that this year has been our best chance by far."
The `Hounds, however, were able to stay positive.
"Even though we didn't make it this year, we still have to realize that this is a young crew," said junior Dan Reardon. "Devin, Cody, Tom, and Jack are all sophomores, and I don't believe there are too many crews out here that have 4 underclassmen in the boat. The five guys from the Men's Varsity 8 who are returning next year are going to have to lead a charge to break into the petite finals here."
The men's team also raced in the Men's Varsity Pair event. Rowers Matthew Spalluzzi and Zach Reichenbach earned a fourth place finish with a time of 7:58.96. The pair just barely failed to advance coming in behind Fordham University's time of 7:54.43 but was able to outperform fast crews from Lehigh U. and Brandeis U.
The Men's Freshman Heavyweight 8 crew, led by Nick Miano, turned in a third place finish in their heat which would have earned them a spot in the semi-finals the next day. Unfortunately, steering violations made during the race disqualified the crew from advancing. Their raw finish put them ahead of strong crews from the University of Maryland, Philadelphia University, and Binghampton. Eventual champion, Bucknell, won the heat in a time of 6:13.18.
On the women's side, the Women's Varsity 8 surprised a number of crews by putting in their fastest performance of the year. Finishing their heat in a time of 7:11.15, the Greyhounds eliminated West Virginia and advanced to an afternoon heat that pitted them against perennial rowing powers LaSalle, Army, Lehigh, and Villanova. The Hounds raced to a time of 7:06.24 to take third place only 3 seconds behind Villanova and a seed in the semi-finals.
Senior Liz Gunner described a tough and rewarding race, "Crews like Nova and Lehigh come to Dad Vails sure that they'll advance to the finals every year. It was an unexpected thrill to be right on their stern giving them a scare. Beating Army for the first time was also a nice way to end my collegiate rowing career."
Like their male counterparts, the women's eight met there disappointment with a positive outlook.
"This was one of the best races this 8 has had in the past two years," said junior Nicole Yeager. "While we are sad to lose two rowers from this crew to graduation, we will have the core of our crew back, including 3 freshmen who really stepped it up for this regatta.
The Women's Junior Varsity 8 crew, led by senior Katya Kreiger-Redwood, turned in a fifth place finish in their heat behind Purdue, Alabama, UConn, and George Mason. While they failed to advance, the crew, which included 5 freshmen rowers, posted a faster performance than boats from Arizona State, Bryn Mawr, and Army.
Coach Al Ramirez summed up this weekend's results, "I know the guys didn't come away with what they wanted, but the Men's 8 went faster today than I've ever seen at Loyola. The women definitely turned a few heads and scared the heck out of some bigger and stronger crews and the Men's pair certainly rowed a great race. We'll look to raise the bar again next year and break onto the finalist's stage."