Bison crew teams take down top opponents

Elise Covert, Sports Co-Editor

The Bison men’s crew team had five boats compete at the April 22 Faunce Cup in Howard, Pa. The first varsity eight boat won the gold medal, beating Penn State, UMass, and Army.

The first varsity boat for the Orange and Blue got out to an early lead, but Army slowly closed the gap throughout the race. The boats drew even with about 400 meters remaining, but a final surge by the Bison gave them the edge, beating the Army team by only 0.9 seconds. It was the first time since 2012 that the Orange and Blue have taken down a top-four ranked varsity eight boat.

“The Faunce Cup race started out competitive from the first stroke, with our boat fighting to keep with Army … I have to say it was one of both the hardest and most fun races I personally have ever been a part of. It was the perfect example of why we enjoy rowing, and it was only made better by that last minute push we had that let us pull ahead of Army,” co-captain Dillon LaFata ’18 said.

Bison head coach Dan Wolleben was similarly pleased with the result from his top rowers.

“Before the race we had talked about finding more speed over the later stages of the race. It’s something that we’ve been talking about all year. We knew that the guys would have to find an extra gear late in order to compete with a top five crew,” Wolleben said.

The third varsity eight followed up a bronze medal performance at the Knecht Cup with a commanding win, beating Army’s freshmen eight by 16 seconds.

The Bison will next compete on April 29 at the Mid-Atlantic Rowing Conference Championship Regatta, where they will defend their 2016 championship victory. The team will also send a crew to the Henley Royal Regatta in England this June for the third time in program history.

On April 23, the Bison women’s crew team took on Patriot League rivals Holy Cross and Boston University on Lake Quinsigamond in Worcester, Mass. The Orange and Blue took first place in two of the three races of the day.

The second varsity eight won their race, edging out Boston by a margin of seven seconds. Later in the day, two varsity four boats competed in the same heat and took the top two spots, with Boston coming in a close third. In the first varsity eight race, the Orange and Blue fell nine seconds short of Boston.

“This past weekend we had an incredibly strong race and I was really happy with how our boat performed. In the past week of practice, we made a lot of progress and we were all looking forward to showing that in our race. Our boat is so motivated and it has been exciting to see just how much faster we get every practice, and hopefully every race too,” Menley Denham ’19, a member of the second varsity eight, said.

Her teammate Elizabeth Wilkey ’17 echoed the positive sentiments about the team’s performance.

“I thought this was one of the best performances for our boat. We went into the race confident and calm and stayed internal. This weekend we are hoping we can have the same approach, but find more within ourselves to go faster,” Wilkey said.

The Bison women will compete again on April 30 at Eastern Sprints.

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