The official 2015 spring racing season kicked off on Saturday, in Pennsauken, NJ, at the Murphy Cup, hosted by Temple University. Although the Hoos won no gold medals, many athletes nevertheless rode home to Charlottesville with silver or bronze medals around their necks.
Mother Nature held back the rain clouds, but she still brought plenty of wind and cold. A 14MPH cross-tail wind and upper-30s temperatures chilled both rowers and coaches to the bone by the end of the day.
In the premier event, the varsity 8 had a great start to their grand final and lead the field by open water at the 1200 meter mark. At that point, the Delaware lightweights—who, due to a still-frozen Charles River, were not racing Harvard in Boston—unleashed an 800 meter sprint, all at ratings above 40. Those Hens are fast little buggers, and they managed to claw through UVa and put their bowball ahead at the line—a disappointment to the Hoos, for sure, but still an encouraging race. UVa claimed the silver medal (2nd out of 19 crews) by besting a fast-improving Temple V8 by 3 seconds, as well as 4th place Michigan by 4 seconds. Holy Cross and Delaware’s heavyweight 8 rounded out the field.
The novice 8 brought home VRA’s second medal, a bronze (3rd out of 22 crews). Drexel’s vastly-improved high-school recruiting and depth were simply too much for the Hoos (5 pure novices in the crew), as were those pesky Delaware lightweights. Last year the UD lightweight program moved their needle considerably, becoming a serious national force when they beat the Harvard lightweight freshmen in Boston. Their program is only gaining momentum. Our hats off to them!
The novice 4 also claimed a bronze medal (3rd out of 23 crews), an interesting accomplishment considering the crew is the first specifically-lightweight novice crew we can remember. They made easy work of their heat and had a solid grand final. They were out-horsed by Temple (stern 4 of their novice 8) and UNC, both heavyweight crews.
The Wahoos are varying our training this week in preparation for a mid-season 2000 meter erg test on Saturday. On the water, the emphasis is on smaller boats and technical development.
The next regatta for UVa is the George Washington Invitational, in Washington, DC, next Friday and Saturday, where they’ll face GW, Georgetown, and Navy in duel races. Times are TBD, but the basic schedule is thus:
Friday PM: UVa crews vs GW
Saturday AM: UVa vs Navy
Saturday PM: UVa vs Georgetown
If you’re in DC on either or both days, the waterfront at the GW racecourse is a fantastic venue, with many restaurants, a Jumbotron screen, and loudspeaker race commentary. We hope to see you there to cheer on the Hoos!
ADDENDUM: On the weekend before the Murphy Cup, the Hobart Statesmen visited Charlottesville for a post-Spring Break scrimmage. Hobart had been training at nearby Lake Anna the previous week. The scrimmage is becoming an annual event. It was great camaraderie and strong racing among all the crews. Here’s a short video clip: http://youtu.be/jOmf6Alx1Sc