Men’s rowing claim two first-place finishes in Knecht Cup

Emily Evancho, Sports Editor

Competing in bright, sunny conditions, the men’s rowing team ventured to West Windor, N.J., alongside the women’s rowing team this past weekend to participate in the Knecht Cup on Mercer Lake. After the men’s two first place finishes and the women’s two silver medals, the Bison rowing program was named the most successful program at the regatta.

During Saturday’s competition, five of the men’s teams qualified for the Sunday’s Finals: varsity eight, second varsity eight, varsity single, the freshmen eight, and the freshmen four. The varsity eight placed fifth in the grand final while the second varsity eight and the freshmen four both claimed fourth places in the Sunday’s finals. From those five boats, the Varsity single rowed by Will Fierman ’15, and most impressively the freshman eight were the most successful as they both captured gold medals.

“They are very, very gifted, highly-competitive athletes,” assistant coach Scott Waters said of the first-place freshmen eight boat. “They are a crew that wants to be pushed … up to this point they had not been challenged, and they knew it was coming this week.”

In the freshman eight boat, only two of the rowers had previous experience on the water before participating in the Bison program. Despite the majority novice status, the freshman eight has had an undefeated season so far as they recently triumphed over their past competitors, St. Joseph’s University and Temple University. The freshmen eight competed with five other boats in the grand final on Sunday. They pulled ahead quickly in the competition, claiming half a boat length lead through the first 1500 meters. In the final 500 meters, the freshmen eight bolted away to pull almost a full boat length ahead of second runner-up Delaware University and third-place Drexel University.

“We felt strong in every race. Going into the final race, we knew if we could get ahead we could win,” Andrew Vinnik ’17, seventh seat in the freshman eight, said,. “Winning like that is … phenomenal. It’s the culmination of all that hard work.”

The men’s rowing team hopes to continue the success tomorrow when they compete against Georgetown University and Hobart College in Princeton, N.J. The freshmen eight and four will also race with the Holy Cross freshmen boats.

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