The San Diego Crew Classic turned out to be a great weekend of growth for the 1st Varsity 8.
The trip started with an early 4am EST departure from campus Friday morning and included stop overs in Harrisburg and Newark airports. We arrived in San Diego at 12pm PST and after arriving at the hotel and eating lunch we headed for the course.
We borrowed a boat from the Cal Bears and after getting it all set for the guys they went out for a good row and 3 trips through the course. Special thanks go to Patti Katin for catering lunch and dinner for the guys!
Saturday started early with an 8:30am heat. We were up against California, Oregon State, and Michigan and it turned into an epic race for the finish line. Cal got out early and controlled the race while OSU, Michigan and Bucknell battled down the course for the final 2 qualifying grand final spots. At 500m it was 3 boats across, the second 500 started to spread the group out with OSU moving out to a length lead over Bucknell and UM grabbed 6 seats on our guys. As the boats moved into the 2nd 1000 our guys started to move and grabbed a couple seats back and as the crews entered the last 500m OSU still had the advantage with Bucknell pressing them and UM hard. As the finish line approached OSU held onto a 4 seat advantage and our guys were level with UM. The difference came in in the last 5 strokes and Michigan was able to eak out a .18 second victory over our guys. It was a gutsy race, we learned a lot about racing and our ability to compete. We ended the day with a great dinner thanks to the Shepard and Bernardi families.
Sunday’s race in the Petite Final was against Jacksonville and Northeastern. Jax was a fast starting crew all weekend and they jumped out to a 4 seat lead at the 500m mark. Our guys fixed their lull in the 2nd 500 from Saturday and took control of the race. Northeastern trailed rowing long and powerfully and remained a dangerous threat. As the crews passed the halfway mark Bucknell led, Jax held onto slim control of 2nd and NU was charging. In the 3rd 500 it became a 2 boat race between Bucknell and Northeastern. The guys held onto a slim lead in the early part of the last 500m, but those long powerful strokes from NU were eating up the race course and it was obvious they had room to lift as they entered the sprint. Our guys were racing with poise and great toughness. The difference came in NU’s ability to increase their speed while we couldn’t capture a speed burst on them until the last 10 strokes. NU edged the Bison by 3 seats to win by 1.4 seconds and Jacksonville was left in 3rd place 7 seconds behind.
The weekend of tough tight racing has motivated our team tremendously and they are excited to race this weekend at the Knecht Cup against rivals Temple, Trinity, and Grand Valley plus loads of other talented crews. Our guys proved themselves to be classy sportsman and courageous racers last week. The season only gets tougher from here, but our guys are ready and they see themselves improving and growing towards the championship races in May on a daily basis.
The rest of the team raced in our annual race against Rutgers and Delaware. The 2V was in a super tight race themselves and like their counterparts in the 1V they found themselves just on the wrong side of the winning margin. Rutgers won by 1 second over the guys who had significant margin on Delaware in 3rd place. The freshman 8 continues their fine start to the spring season with a 15sec win over Rutgers. They will find much tougher racing this weekend at the Knecht Cup as they match up against fast crews from Trinity, Drexel, and Grand Valley.
The racing season is turning out to be tight and exciting. Be sure to keep up with the weekend racing on Twitter by following BucknellCrew.