The Hoos 2016 spring racing season kicked off on Saturday, in Philadelphia, at the Murphy Cup Regatta, hosted by Temple University. The weather cooperated, and regatta officials started every race right on time. By the end of the day, 46 Virginia Wahoos were wearing hard-won medals around their necks.
The men’s and women’s pairs had finals-only races, and both crews earned medals. The women battled in the middle of the pack, and ultimately took a silver medal (2nd out of 4 crews) by 15 seconds over the 3rd place crew, Hamilton. The men’s pair steered well and took bronze (3rd out of 6 crews), just 5 seconds behind 2nd place crew Philadelphia University.
UVa entered three varsity 4s in the varsity 4 event, and two of those crews brought home medals (1st and 2nd out of 14 crews). In the grand final, both the lightweight 4 and heavyweight 4 pulled away from the field and eventually were racing only each other, in lanes 3 and 4. The lightweights edged the heavies by just 1.5 seconds. The 3rd place crew, Villanova, finished about 9 seconds behind the Hoos.
The 2nd varsity 8 was at something less than its very best due to the stroke seat, Keith Cascells-Hamby, suffering a minor ankle sprain before their grand final. He would not be denied the chance to race, however, as he helped power the 2V8 to a bronze medal (3rd out of 11 crews). Drexel and Temple took 1st and 2nd.
In the premier event, the varsity 8 had a fast start to their grand final and lead the field as they passed through the Strawberry Mansion Bridge. Both Drexel and Temple—two very up-and-coming varsity programs—flexed their muscles, though, and steadily worked their way to the front of the field. It was a battle to the end, and ultimately the Hoos earned a bronze medal (3rd out of 16 crews). Drexel and Temple finished 1st and 2nd.
The novice 8 brought home another medal, a silver (2nd out of 11 crews). Drexel’s high-school recruiting and depth were on display again this year as they took control of the race by the 500. The Hoos had a strong start and were able to run well with Temple and Delaware, two programs who both had strong fall seasons. The Hoos had an exceptionally strong second-half of the race and powered home to a 2nd place finish.
The novice 4 also claimed a silver medal (2nd out of 11 crews), which was a pleasant surprise given the difficulty they’ve had finding time to row together at all, much less at race pace. Delaware got in front early and never looked back. The Hoos traded seats with Lehigh all the way down the course. The Mountain Hawks were leading UVa by a length with 400 meters to go. The Hoos used all of the race course, however, and nudged their shell ahead just before the finish line, edging Lehigh by just 3/10ths of a second.
UPCOMING: Next weekend VRA will host UNC, in Charlottesville, for a friendly scrimmage. The next regatta for UVa is the George Washington Invitational, in Washington, DC, on April 8 & 9, where the varsity squad will face GW, Georgetown, and Navy in duel races. Times are TBD.
ADDENDUM: On the weekend before the Murphy Cup, the Hobart Statesmen and the Bucknell Bison visited Charlottesville for a post-Spring Break scrimmage. Now an annual event, the scrimmage was enjoyed by everyone—a great way to get in some intense 1K pieces without the stress of an all-day regatta event.