May 26, 2009
BALTIMORE - The varsity 4 of the Loyola men's rowing team will compete at the Intercollegiate Rowing Association National Regatta on Thursday at 11 a.m. The event takes place Thursday through Saturday in Sacramento, Calif. and will showcase the premier crew teams in the country.
In its 107th year, the IRA Championship is the equivalent of the NCAA Men's Basketball "Sweet 16" of rowing packed into three days of action on Lake Natoma.
The men will race in one of three heats today. If Loyola wins the heat, then the team will advance directly to the grand final on Saturday morning at 9:50 a.m. A field of Georgetown, Princeton, Northwestern, Santa Clara University and Mary Washington will race against Loyola on Thursday morning.
If the team finishes any position but first on Thursday, they must race a repechage race on Friday. If they win the repechage, Loyola is still eligible to finish in the top 6 grand final. If the teams gets either second or third on Friday in the second round, they are only eligible to finish between 7th-12th.
Head Coach Al Ramirez said his team's immediate goal is to win that first heat and if that doesn't happen as planned, they will adjust and go all-in for the Friday repechage win.
"This is a great honor to be here making good on the promise that we offer our rowing prospects: "earn one of our top spots and you'll get your shot at a national championship against the best crews in the country- including the Pac-10, and Ivy leagues," said Ramirez."Being able to race against three eastern sprints league crews at the national championships is a challenge that our guys think about daily.
The four Greyhounds that will row are Devin Marsicovetere, Marc Hesse, Cody Kishur and John Vitanovec, with Tom Bellew slated as the spare. This makes the third straight year that Marsicovetere and Kishur have been selected to race in a National Championship Four event. Vitanovec and Bellew have each served a year in a National Championship Four and in the IRA men's pair last year, while Hesse raced in the IRA last year.
"With our previous experiences at the IRA, we hope to have our highest finish ever and have been working hard despite graduation and senior week to achieve it," said Head Coach Al Ramirez.
Due to a rules restriction against freshmen in the varsity four event, Tom Quinn, the men's regular coxswain and most successful championship coxswain in school history, is ineligible for the actual race. A true team player, he has been training the team for the past two weeks, and even helped to prep championship lightweight women's rower Daisy Carter for the job as championship substitute. Coxing for this race will be an intense challenge for her but her natural competitive spirit will help immensely, said Ramirez.
The men's varsity four took second at the MAAC Championships back on April 19, helping the program earn runner-up honors. The women's team, meanwhile, took home the program's first Championship since the 2005 season.