Bucknell varsity 8+ takes down Michigan to open spring

The 2023 spring season was set to open with a bang last weekend, with Michigan, Rutgers, Lehigh and Mercyhurst all scheduled to line up on the Susquehanna. As race day neared, however, the weather forecast grew increasingly ominous, hinting at strong winds that would make the river unsafe to row on. Given the small likelihood of a race occurring Saturday morning, visiting teams decided to pull out, except Michigan who backed the idea of racing Friday evening instead. Bucknell agreed and the plan went through.

While logistics were thrown together at the last minute, the stage for racing itself could not have been better: the Susquehanna graced both teams with flat water and minimal breeze accompanied by a setting sun. The fourth varsity eights kicked off the evening with some tight margins. The one-length lead that Michigan established within the first 500m proved to be all it needed. Ultimately the Michigan 4v finished 4.1s ahead of Bucknell, who finished 13.9s ahead of the Michigan 2F. One hour later, members from these same boats broke down into fours for another round of racing. This time Bucknell got the best of Michigan, beating both of its A and B entries.

The third varsity eights went next. Much like the 4v race, Michigan flew off the line, creating an early advantage that put Bucknell in its rear-view. As Michigan continued to pound an aggressive rhythm, Bucknell seemed to plateau at a noncompetitive rate. Both the Michigan 1F and 3v won in convincing manner.

Coaches expedited racing as daylight dwindled, starting flights on top of each other to fit everything in. The second varsity eights kept the program in motion, featuring two boats that medaled in this very event at ACRAs last May. Final standings from last year remained unchanged as Michigan again finished ahead of Bucknell by a length or so of open water.

The first varsity eights concluded the evening by showcasing some of the best rowing that the club level has to offer. Entering the matchup with its usual underdog mentality, Bucknell threw everything it had at the first quarter of the race and found itself up early. From that point onward, Michigan clung on to Bucknell’s stern but was unable to chisel away at the original deficit. Bucknell eventually finished ahead by 3.4s, capturing its first win over a Michigan varsity eight since 2017 when it earned silver at the ACRA National Championship.

The team now looks ahead to this weekend’s matchup against Washington College and Lehigh, another home race affair on the Susquehanna.

1st Varsity 8+
Bucknell – 6:05.7
Michigan – 6:09.1

2nd Varsity 8+
Michigan – 6:23.2
Bucknell – 6:32.4

3rd Varsity 8+
Michigan 1F – 6:30.7
Michigan 3v – 6:36.5
Bucknell – 6:45.6

4th Varsity 8+
Michigan 4v – 6:59.3
Bucknell – 7:03.4
Michigan 2F – 7:17.3

Bucknell – 7:52.8
Michigan A – 7:55.6
Michigan B – 8:29.3

1st Varsity 8+ – 2022 Hudson S8.32 SHARK Super Predator
Coxswain: Izzy Mersky, Jr.
Stroke: Andrew Viola, Jr.
7: Sen Zelov, So.
6: Kevin Carney, Jr.
5: Zach Gerhardt, Jr.
4: Conor McNichols, So.
3: Jack Fiala, Sr.
2: Ryan Genel, Fr.
Bow: Dominic Canale, Jr.

2nd Varsity 8+ – 2022 Hudson S8.32 SHARK Super Predator
Coxswain: Emma Minadeo, Sr.
Stroke: Dirk Puleo, So.
7: Chris Kirby, Fr.
6: Nathan Peot, Jr.
5: Andy Thompson, So.
4: Will Amrhein, Jr.
3: Aidan DeWitt, So.
2: Ryan Spallone, So.
Bow: Luca Arvanitis, So.

3rd Varsity 8+ – Class of 2020
Coxswain: Jack Lieblein, Fr.
Stroke: Kellen Paulsen, Fr.
7: Oliver Abushacra, Fr.
6: Ethan Jones, Jr.
5: Dan Van Syckle, Sr.
4: Josh Raeter, Fr.
3: John Kirincich, Fr.
2: Graham Knox, Jr.
Bow: Tim Robertson, Fr.

4th Varsity 8+ – Class of 1985
Coxswain: Austin Carroll, Fr.
Stroke: Brian Skeels, Sr.
7: Will Blumenthal, Jr.
6: Griffin Walsh, Fr.
5: Brent Mankin, Sr.
4: Chris Morale, Fr.
3: Travis Stanitis, Fr.
2: Brendan Arnold, Jr.
Bow: Peter Nasto, Fr.

4+ –
Coxswain: Josiah Kwok, Fr.
Stroke: Brian Skeels, Sr.
3: Will Blumenthal, Jr.
2: Griffin Walsh, Fr.
Bow: Garrett Van Blarcom-DeLuise, Fr.