Bison Men Tackle Dad Vail / ECAC Double Regatta Weekend

  The Bucknell Men’s Rowing program tackled one of the most difficult regatta weekends in modern rowing, Competing in both the Dad Vail Regatta (Held on the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia, Pa on May 9th-10th) and the ECAC National Championship Regatta Held in Worcester, Ma on Lake Quinsigamond on Sunday, May 11th.  The 3-day bout of racing began on Friday morning with the Varsity 8+ winning their heat against Grand Valley State to advance to the semi-final, the Freshman 4+ winning their heat comfortably and the 2nd Varsity Finishing 2nd behind Michigan to advance to their semi-final as well.  Saturday morning saw some very competitive semi-finals take place, with the Freshman 4+ missing out on qualifying for the Grand Final by 1 second after a brutal 3-boat race for the win against Michigan State and eventual bronze-medalist Drexel University. The Varsity 8+ was able to advance comfortably taking 2nd in their semi-final behind Michigan – marking the first time a Bucknell Heavyweight Varsity 8+ has ever made the grand-final of the Dad Vail. The 2nd 8+ was also able to follow suit, advancing in 2nd behind Michigan and ahead of George Mason.  The Grand Finals were subject to the extremes of the weather, as the 2nd 8+ faced strong 20+ mph headwinds and large rolling waves down the entire course. The Bucknell 2V fought hard in the first 1000m but struggled to cope with the conditions, eventually finishing 5th.  Shortly after the 2V final, a strong round of thunderstorms moved through, causing a 2:30 delay in racing. Conditions were perfectly flat as the Varsity 8+ Grand Final came down the course, the Bison Varsity stayed in medal contention through the first 800m but were unable to keep with the pace of nationally ranked crews of Michigan and FIT, eventually finishing 6th with a final time of 5:58.   Immediately after racing completed, the Bucknell Men traveled through the night to Worcester, Ma to compete in the ECAC on Lake Quinsigamond. The weather was inviting with temperatures in the low 70s and a consistent cross wind out of the west.  The first crews to hit the water were both Bucknell entries in the Open 4+. The Bucknell ‘B’ entry faced tough competition for the 3rd advancing position, but were able to fend off Washington College to advance into the Grand Final. The Bucknell ’A’ entry had a tight race with Tufts University for the first 1000m before moving away to win their semi-final for a spot in the Grand Final. The Bison 2V were able to prevail in a tightly contested semi-final, finishing one-length off of Hobart and 2 seconds ahead of Wesleyan to advance to the Grand Final. The Bucknell Varsity was also able to advance from the semi-final, 2.8s behind Hobart and narrowly beating Boston College for the 2nd spot by 0.75s.  The first grand final was that of the open 4+, which saw a tight race for the lead between Bucknell and Michigan, the Michigan crew was able to establish a 1 length lead by 500m to go and was able to hold on for the win, with the Bison Freshman 4+ 3.5 seconds behind for silver, 5 seconds ahead of Clark University.  Later in the afternoon the 2nd Varsity 8+ grand final came down the course, with the Bison 2V hoping to get some hardware after a promising semi-final performance. All crews were close to the lead through the first 500m, with Michigan and Williams fighting for the lead. The Bison 2V struggled to maintain their rhythm and were unable to challenge for the medals in the last 1000m, eventually finishing 5th with a final time of 6:14.  The final event of the day was the Varsity 8+ Grand Final, in which the Bucknell Varsity fought hard, fighting for 3rd place behind Michigan and Hobart with the likes of Ithaca and Williams Colleges, however the Bison men were unable to respond as the pace picked up in the last 500m, finishing 5th overall with a final time of 6:11.   The Bucknell Men will now spend the next 2 weeks preparing for their final regular season regatta, the ACRA National Championship held on Memorial Day weekend in Gainesville, Ga on the 1996 Olympic course on Lake Lanier.