Crew opens its season in Regatta

The men’s and women’s teams finished in fourth and sixth, respectively.

The men’s and women’s teams finished in fourth and sixth, respectively.

On Saturday afternoon on the Schuylkill River, both the men’s and women’s crew teams started their seasons with impressive performances and came away content with their efforts at the Navy Day Regatta.

“I was absolutely pleased with our guys,” men’s coach Gavin White said. “There were some really tough teams out there, some with Olympic talent even, so I was very impressed overall.”

Both men’s varsity 4+ teams came away with Top 10 finishes, placing fourth and eighth out of 25 crews in their event, with the “A” team a mere .24 seconds behind Penn, who finished third.

After the varsity 8+ team finished second at this Regatta last season, the team – which includes sophomore Mike Mirrabella, juniors James Barr, Aaron Heyde, Jason Cartwright, Nenad Ninkovic, Brian Reehill and Donald Norris, and seniors Scott Waters and Jeff Wunderlich – finished the day off with a fifth-place finish in the final event. The team finished its time-trial style race in 12 minutes, 58 seconds, which was 34 seconds slower than winner Penn Athletic Club, who White said had Olympic talent, but several spots ahead of local rivals Villanova, La Salle and St. Joseph’s.

It was a good start to the season for the men’s team, who is coming off a 2009-10 season during which it ranked in the country’s Top 20 for most of the season. White said the team was eager to get back in the water after its disappointing end to last season, as the team didn’t make the final in the Dad Vail Regatta for the first time since 1984.

“That’s one of the biggest races of the season for us. We’ve won it 19 or 20 times out of the last 28, and we expect to win it every season,” White said. “That’s our goal, and these endurance races in the fall help us make sure we’re ready so we’re excited to get going.”

White explained that those expectations have a lot to do with the experienced team’s several upperclassmen.

“We’ve got a group of kids who have been rowing together for a long time so we expect to be fast,” White said. “There will be lots of challenges because of the parity in our sport, but we’ve been tested so we’re ready, and we’re not going to back down.”

Next for the men’s team is the Head of the Schuylkill Regatta on Oct. 30 and the Princeton Chase on Oct. 31.

On the women’s side, the varsity 8+ team – which consists of sophomores Jackie Lees, Joanna Sutor and Megan Welsh, juniors Allison Boc, Taylor Wasserleben and Kara Jackson, and seniors Brynn Moore and Erin Buchanan – finished its final event in 15:05, earning the team a sixth-place finish out of 12 crews. A Penn team won the race with a time of 14:30.

While the women’s rowing team is also coming off a very successful 2009-10 season, both teams look to build on their previous successes this year.

“Last year was a very successful year for women’s rowing,” women’s coach Tim Hagan said. “We finished third at [the Atlantic Ten Conference Championship], our highest finish since 1998. We won Bronze at the Knecht Cup, made Grand finals at the Murphy Cup and were a Dad Vail petite finalist.”

The women’s team now has something to build on after its sixth-place finish at the Navy Day Regatta.

“It is a good first race of the year to look to have some good rows and start the season off right,” Hagan said. “We have an experienced team even though they are considerably young, and this year, we are looking to build on last year’s success.”

Brandon Stoneburg can be reached at

The men’s and women’s teams finished in fourth and sixth, respectively.

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