Bucknell Men Open Season at Murphy Cup

The Bucknell Men competed in their first official regatta of the spring season on Saturday, March 28th at the 33rd annual Murphy Cup Regatta on the Cooper River in Cherry Hill, NJ.  Typical March weather ensured strong winds and challenging racing conditions, but all crews were excited to race after a long winter.  With everyone experiencing a longer "winter" than usual, many area races were canceled, which moved many teams to the Murphy Cup this year.  The level of competition at the 33rd annual Murphy Cup was the best in the history of the event, and rivaled later season championships like the Dad Vail Regatta.

Three Bucknell crews were entered in first race of the day, the Men’s Varsity Pair.  The first heat saw two Bucknell pairs in the same event. Both boats started well and stayed with the pack through the halfway mark.  Lafayette pulled away from the field, but Bucknell “A” and Villanova moved with them. Lafayette proved to be too much, but Bucknell “A” powered away to advance to the final, while Bucknell “C” finished in a hard fought 4th.  The second heat proved to be a fast one, Bucknell “B” finished in fifth place behind eventual silver and bronze medalists Philadelphia and North Carolina. Later on in the final, Bucknell “A” would finish in 5th, less than 2 seconds off of 2nd and 3rd place.

Up next for the Bison were the Men’s Varsity Fours, with two crews entered. Bucknell “B” found themselves in the closest race of the day, being pushed all the way by Michigan and Virginia. Michigan and Virginia established a small lead moving into the last 500m, but the Bison came charging back. The sprint came up just short and they finished in 3rd place (just .01 seconds behind Virginia).  Bucknell “A” found themselves in an even faster heat and despite setting the 7th fastest time in the heats, finished in 3rd place behind Colgate and Rhode Island.  Due to progression rules neither boat advanced to the final.

The Freshmen Men’s Eight raced afterwards, in their first collegiate 2k.  Knowing they needed to win their heat or set one of the 6 fastest times to advance, the freshmen charged off the line.  A three boat race developed between Delaware, Bucknell, and Michigan, but Delaware got their bow ahead and moved up on the field.  The freshmen hung strong and opened up an 8 second gap over Michigan to finish 2nd place in the heat, but based on finishing 8th overall on time did not advance to the final.  

The Men’s 2V Eight was the next event on the day.  The 2V started fast but had difficulty finding a good rhythm after the first 500 meters.  The crew would go on to finish 4th in their heat, behind Temple, Virginia, and St. Josephs.

Next up was the Men’s Freshmen Four, who knew they were in for a challenging race.  The four started well and was sitting in third place 600 meters into the race, but the crew found it challenging to maintain their rhythm, and began to slip from the leading crews.  The freshmen would finish 5th, just 5 seconds behind Drexel.

The Men’s Varsity Eight knew they were going to be challenged in their heat, with strong crews from Holy Cross and North Carolina.  The 1V went out quickly and after the first 500 meters were only a few seats down on Holy Cross.  As Holy Cross began to push out a slight lead, the 1V followed them opening up a few seat lead over North Carolina.  These margins held all the way to the line, the 1V finished 5 seconds off of Holy Cross, and beat out North Carolina by just under a second.  After watching the times from the other heats the 1V found themselves in the petite final.  in the final Bucknell again started with the leading pack, but was not able to match the speed they created in the earlier heat, slipping back from the leaders around the 1000 meter mark, finishing in 5th place behind Army, BC, St. Josephs, and North Carolina.

The Bucknell Men are excited to continue improving in the coming days as they prepare to race Temple University and St. Josephs University this weekend on the Schuylkill River, in Philadelphia, PA.