Dear VRA Family,
This past weekend we were in Indianapolis, Indiana for the 2nd Annual Bald Eagle Collegiate Invitational; despite our previous plans to never return after last year had unbeatably perfect weather. We brought a whole fleet of boats, with most of the team double racing in both eights and small boats. I am happy to report it was a successful weekend racing with our friends in the Midwest for our last fall regatta of the year.
Racing took place at Eagle Creek Park, where Virginia’s own Kevin Sauer built the spring-racing buoyed course. Unlike most head races, the course was a straight 4.25km passing through a bridge about halfway through. Total we raced 6 eights, 6 fours, and 8 pairs throughout the day.
Frosh Eights (2nd, 3rd, 5th of 23 total entries)
With numbers up from last year’s two novice eights, we fielded three semi-stacked eights of rookies who competed against 20 other entries over three different races (A, B, C). The ‘A’ eight was closer on Wisconsin’s heels than expected, finishing only 4 seconds behind with a time of 14:25.6 for silver. The rookies were particularly excited to defeat the siblings of two of our current team members who are novices at Michigan this year. The ‘B’ eight took home bronze with a time 15:10.5, finishing less than a second behind Michigan. The ‘C’ eight finished in a time of 16:20.2, bringing home 5th place and got to witness one of Michigan’s Frosh eights flipping after they had crossed the finish line.
Frosh Fours (2nd, 5th of 24 entries)
Some of the top first years had the opportunity to race in two fours in the afternoon. They rowed very well considering they’ve only spent time together in eights so far this season. The ‘A’ four brought home silver with a time of 15:36.8. They are some of the only guys that finished ahead of Wisconsin in any event of the day but, they unfortunately finished behind Michigan by about one second. The ‘B’ four finished with a time of 16:21.8 securing a very respectable 5th place.
Varsity Pairs (1st, 2nd, 4th, 5th of 21 entries)
The V8 started the day off with racing in pairs. It was similar to watching a demolition derby as the field of 21 pairs made their way down the race course, or attempted to at least. Our ‘A’ entry have been practicing to avenge last year’s lost to Michigan in the pair at this race. Unfortunately, they met a foam pylon near the bridge and lost enough time to be out of medal contention. The next several pairs, including Michigan who was close on their heels, also tangled with the pylon and had significant trouble getting through the bridge. Despite their struggles, they finished 4th with a time of 16:49.1—behind other UVA pairs and one pair from Minnesota who snuck in for bronze. However, in a bittersweet turn of events, they did still finish 33 seconds ahead of Michigan’s fastest pair.
Following the initial mayhem, the rest of the field, spread across every available bit of water, zig-zagged haphazardly towards the finish line–nearly taking out boats warming up and an official’s launch. The ‘B’ pair bobbed and weaved their way through the middle of the mess fairly well, finishing in 16:22.2 and securing silver medals. Sadly, the ‘C’ pair got seriously hindered by getting stuck behind some slow moving boats with terrible steering which led them to finish 5th with a time of 17:13.1.
Last but not least, the ‘D’ pair took home gold and a highly coveted Eagle trophy, having beaten the rest of the field simply by not botching anything too badly. They simply kept plugging away at it and steered fairly well, managing to stay avoid foam pilings and a flipped crew by staying in the middle of the course – kind of what you expect from the V8 bow pair… They finished with a time of 16:14.1.
“Anyone can win the eight, but the pair, the pair is a true measure of a coach’s skill” -Al Acosta, head coach Cal women’s rowing *In full disclosure, the pairs weren’t coached or practiced…
Varsity Fours (7th, 5th, 13th, 15th of 34 total entries)
The 2V8 and 3V8 had fun breaking down to race in 4 fours in the late morning. They raced thrown together line-ups and did quite well considering their only practice was on the way to the start line. It was a nice mental break from the eights which we’ve been racing/rowing most of the season.
The ‘A’ four placed 7th with a time of 15:42.5. The ‘B’ four managed to swing together and finished in a time of 15:32.7 and secured 5th place within its field. The ‘C’ four completed the race in 16:16.0 and placed 13th and the ‘D’ four placed closely behind at 15th with a time of 16:29.7.
Varsity Eights (5th, 2nd, 2nd of 28 total entries)
The 3V eight placed 5th with a time of 14:43.7. The 2V eight placed 2nd behind Wisconsin with a time of 14:00.1. The V8 also finished second .4 seconds behind Wisconsin with a time of 13:17.4 and ahead of Michigan by 27 seconds.
All in all we had a great weekend in the Hoosier State thanks to our hosts Cheryl and Bob Hastings!
We hope to see everyone in town this weekend for Class Day Races and the Alumni BBQ! You can see the full schedule here!