Men’s Rowers Have Excellent Showing at Nationals
After the U.Va. women’s rowing team captured the NCAA title, we had heard rumors that men’s intercollegiate club team — the notch just below varsity status — had also won a national title.
We received more information late last week, thanks to a great email from Erich Schuler, the novice coach and recruiting coordinator. Erich takes it from here:
The University of Virginia men’s rowing club team finished a spectacular weekend of racing on May 27 by winning its second straight varsity eight national championship at the American Collegiate Rowing Association regatta, held May 27 in Gainesville, Ga. (Varsity eight pictured above.)
Team member Sean Watson said, “Going into the grand final, our primary focus was on staying with Michigan. We knew that they would be incredibly fast through the first 1,000 meters of the race. After a decent start, we settled into a long, powerful base pace to put ourselves in contention early.”
The Virginia boat was in the lead pack off the start, seized a one-length lead by 1,200 meters, and was able to see the field behind them for the rest of the race. They finished in 5 minutes, 40.9 seconds, half a length ahead of surprise second-place Bucknell (5:42.9), who finished another two seconds ahead of bronze medalist Michigan (5:44.8).
“Winning back-to-back ACRA championships is really special for the entire program,” Watson said, “and it is a testament to the amazing coaching staff we have. As a team, we will enjoy this moment, but preparation for next year’s championship run starts now.”
Full race video:
Virginia’s medal haul did not end with the varsity eight. The second varsity eight had a solid grand-final race as well, bringing home a silver medal with a time of 5:50.8.
Graduating fourth-year Kyle Davis, stroke of the second varsity eight, said, “We did some great work on our start over the past two weeks. We got off the line quickly in the grand final, and executed our race plan perfectly through the 1,000, leading Michigan for 700 meters. Michigan uncorked a huge third 500, and pulled into the lead. Our sprint ate back into it, but they were a great crew. Our guys are hungry for next year and beyond.”
Virginia’s varsity lightweight four made a huge jump in speed from the Dad Vail Regatta in Philadelphia two weeks earlier. There, the University of Chicago lightweights were the class of the field, winning the grand final by open water, and 13 seconds ahead of fourth-place Virginia.
At ACRAs, however, the Hoos rowed wonderfully, finishing second, just 2.5 seconds behind Chicago, earning another silver medal.
Showing uncommon poise and maturity in the grand final, the novice eight overcame a sloppy start in choppy water – after which they were in seventh place out of eight crews – and proceeded to churn through the field.
At the 1,600-meter mark, they were, according to the announcer, in the lead by about a seat, ahead of Orange Coast College. In the end, the Orange Coast crew was a shade too fast, finishing 0.9 seconds ahead of Virginia, who finished open water ahead of third-place Notre Dame.
Virginia’s novice coach, Erich Shuler, was named the 2012 ACRA Mid-Atlantic Coach of the Year.
Varsity 8: coxswain Katie Garrity, 8 Robbie Schwieder, 7 Sam Kush, 6 Scott Stuard, 5 Steven Lee-Kramer, 4 Ty Saitta, 3 Sean Watson, 2 Ben Hammond, 1 Peter Malm
2nd Varsity 8: coxswain Sarah Zillioux, 8 Kyle Davis, 7 Dylan Staples, 6 Graham Lohr, 5 Matt Schilling, 4 Quinn Weber, 3 Sam Herder, 2 Will Courtney, 1 Ed Crocker
Varsity Lightweight 4: coxswain Valerie Roth, stroke Bert Udler, 3 Edwin Nieves, 2 Ethan Bauer, 1 Alfred Hubbard
Novice 8: coxswain Lindsay Sackellares, 8 Nick Hine, 7 John McNulty, 6 Charles Hanley, 5 Forrest Brown, 4 Thom Hammond, 3 Garrett Thomas, 2 Nate Brown, 1 Gage Wells