Wahoos Win SIRA Men’s Point Trophy for 3rd Year in a Row
The SIRA regatta gets bigger and more competitive every year. Nevertheless, for the third year in a row, the Hoos compiled enough points to bring the men’s point trophy home to Charlottesville. In all, 21 VRA athletes left Oak Ridge with medals.
The SIRA organizing committee remains committed to helping grow southern rowing, and more crews (both club and varsity teams) show up to the regatta every year. Due to a new format (including time trials instead of just heats), in many events there were not just C level finals, but also D, E, and even F level finals!
The Hoos entered nine events, and all but one of the crews qualified for their A level final.
Two very committed women (Ashley Gale and Emma Jenevein) row for the VRA. The points they earned at the SIRA regatta did not contribute to the men’s point trophy, but no matter. They made short work of the women’s double event. They easily bested the field through the time trial, semis, and grand final, winning VRA’s first gold medal of the day on Sunday.
The men’s double (Andrew Anderson, Matt Whitesell) also progressed through the time trial and semis with solid rows, but their racing rhythm in the grand final was a shade off of what they had hoped for. They finished 4th out of 11 total crews.
Early in the week, the novice 4 (Scott Miller, Joel Greenberg, Ethan Max, Nate Grevatt, Charlotte Cooney) was teetering badly. On Monday they rowed so poorly in practice that they docked early and just erged. By the end of the week, with a new lineup, they found some encouraging speed. For novices, even heats and semifinals can serve as practices, and the N4 took advantage. By the grand final, the crew had pinpointed the technical issues they needed to nail in order to race well, and they rowed a solid race, sliding their bow ball to a gold medal finish (out of 31 crews). It was the third year in a row that the UVa novices won the event (which was a relief since we forgot to bring the trophy to the regatta!).
The varsity 4 (Tim McMullen, Sebastian Simko, Stephen Barlow, Tim Rodriguez, Austin Hall) and JV4 (Ryan Cheng, Connor O’Brien, Willie Nuckols, Max Ober, Pearl Risberg) raced in the same event, both advancing through the time trials and semis. Although the JV4 did not make the grand final, they did make the B final and finished 4th (10th overall). The V4 made the A final. They had just an average start, which put them in 6th place at the 500. They kept their length and rhythm, however, churning through the field, and finished 4th out of 33 crews in all—an impressive result considering that many crews fielded their best 4 rowers for the event.
VRA’s lightweight 4 (Chris Hastings, Zach Heese, Calvin Heimberg, Dan Weihs, Ellie Colees) took all the fun out of the L4 event for the other crews. They dominated the time trials, semis, and grand final. In the GF, they got ahead and pulled away at every part of the race, finishing a whopping 17 seconds ahead of the 2nd place crew, High Point (9 crews total). This is a legit crew, folks!
The JV8 (Keith Cascells-Hamby, Grant Janart, Chris Mikus, Eddie Tiernan, Dick Williams, Garrett Overholser, Matt Zetkulic, Will Lewitus, Sam Needham) had a good time trial on Saturday and advanced straight to Sunday’s grand final. In the GF, they hammered out a solid rhythm, finishing 3rd out of 13 crews in all. The only two crews who beat them were varsity programs FIT and Temple.
The varsity 8 event was a prime example of the steadily increasing difference between the top varsity crews and the majority of club crews at the SIRA regatta. The UVa V8 qualified—with the fastest overall time in the semifinal—for a very fast grand-final field (25 crews overall). In the grand final, however, FIT, Temple, and Oklahoma City—all varsity programs that are quickly learning to effectively recruit not only nationally, but also internationally—showed their true top speed as they pulled away from the three club crews to earn medals by open water. Virginia finished 5th, just behind an improving Purdue crew.
The Hoos now have three weeks to prepare for the Dad Vail Regatta, in Philadelphia. Two of those training weeks will take place in the midst of two weeks of final exams. Although not ideal, it’s always an exciting time of the year as classes wind down and the competitive level of the remaining regattas rises.
The athletes and coaches give extra special thanks to all the parents for providing food and drink for the athletes, and of course to the Andersons, for preparing an amazing spread at the food tent so that every athlete, parent, and coach was well fed and happy all weekend. Thank you all so much!