Bucknell Men Open Year Against Drexel and Lehigh

The Bucknell Men kicked off the 2015-2016 racing season at the Bucknell Fall Classic this past Sunday. Joining the Bison on the Susquehanna River in Shamokin Dam, PA, were Drexel and Lehigh University. Early weather forecasts of Hurricane Joaquin put the regatta in jeopardy, but Sunday morning saw a stiff, cold breeze with perfectly raceable conditions.  The Bucknell Fall Classic is special, in that it is the first collegiate racing experience for all of the Bison Freshmen. A strong performance from the Freshmen, coupled with solid results from the Upperclassmen marks a solid start to the Men’s 2015-2016 racing campaign.

The Varsity Eight posted the fastest Bucknell time of the day, finishing in 18:24.6. Drexel and Bucknell went out after each other, opening up large margin on Lehigh. A kilometer and a half into the race Drexel had fought out to a length lead, but the Bison dug in and stopped the move holding the Dragons to just over a length lead heading into the halfway mark. As both crews caught up to the main pack, Drexel took a great line around the main corner and spurted out in front of the field. The Bison tried to follow, but slipped off the pace. The 1V finished 43 seconds off the Drexel Varsity, but a minute and a half ahead of Lehigh. The Varsity Eight was composed of Doug Burney ’16, Ryan Thompson ’16, Andrew Vinnik ’17, Billy Pinamont ’17, Jack Shelton ’18, Duncan Ragland ’19, Sam Jubb ’17, Mike Pallotta ’18, and was coxed by Henry Leonardi ’18.

The Second Varsity Eight was in a two boat race, with Lehigh not entering a 2V. The race started well, with the Bison falling off Drexel’s pace slightly, but still holding on strong. The strength of the Drexel crew became evident in the second half of the race, as Drexel slowly kept expanding their lead. The Bison would finish just under a minute behind Drexel, in a time of 19:16.6. The Second Varsity Eight was made up of James Koenigsberg ’18, Pat Long ’18, Lucas Colagrossi ’17, Rich Nicolaides ’18, Dillon LaFata ’18, Christian Daugherty ’18, Sam Wiley ’16, Luke Goodwin ’18, and was coxed by Perry Hamilton ’18.

The Freshmen Eight competed against Drexel’s Third Varsity Eight. Despite this challenge, the 1F performed well. Both crews were locked in a tough battle through the first half of the race, with Drexel establishing a lead, but with the Bison stubbornly refusing to drop off their pace. As the race rounded into the second half Drexel managed to move away from the 1F, but the Bison still held tough to the line. They finished in 18:29.8, just under 45 seconds behind Drexel. The Freshmen Eight was composed of Alex Owen ’19, John Morcos ’19, Grant Accurso ’19, Dabreon Darby ’19, John Leasure ’19, Thomas Marth ’19, Quinn Smith ’19, Gunnar Vorwerk ’19, and was coxed by Robert Bellantoni ’19.

The Second Freshmen Eight squared off against the top freshmen crew from Lehigh University. A fast start from both crews saw Lehigh try to establish an early lead over the 2F. A decisive counter move within the first kilometer of the race led the 2F to a length advantage over Lehigh. Then a strong base pace saw the lead grow and grow. The 2F crossed the line in a time of 18:49.7, well over a minute ahead of Lehigh’s 1F. The Second Freshmen Eight was composed of David Ruf ’19, Jacopo Baldi ’19, Kyle Shtern ’19, Ryan McSherry ’19, Andrew Stonnington ’19, Ben Brown ’19, Gary Tse ’19, Andrew Carstensen ’19, and was coxed by Nicole Finan ‘17.

The Third Freshmen Eight competed against the top freshmen crew from Lehigh University as well. The 3F was locked in a tight battle the whole way down the course, holding even with Lehigh’s 1F until the last kilometer of the race. A strong finishing sprint saw Lehigh nudge their boat out in front. The 3F would finish in a time time of 20:25.7, only 15 seconds behind Lehigh. The Third Freshmen Eight included Nick Huang ’19, Doug Bidjarano ’19, Chris Malone ’19, Brandon Ponzo ’19, Chris Bowdler ’19, Cyrus Namazi ’19, Ryan Wang ’19, Adit Acharya ’19, and was coxed by Emilee Bae ’18.

The Bucknell Men will now take two weeks to prepare for the 51st Head of the Charles, in Boston, MA. The Bison Men will be sending up a Varsity and Second Varsity Eight, and both shells look to improve upon their finishes from last year (13th and 21st respectively). The team will also be joined by an alumni eight, making their return to the Head of the Charles after a strong performance last year. The team hopes to see plenty of family, friends, and alumni in Boston. Go Bison!