The No. 19 men’s crew team took home the title in the Varsity 8 event last weekend, while one of the women’s Varsity 8 teams brought back the bronze in New Jersey.
Both the men’s and women’s crew teams competed in their fourth event this spring, the Knecht Cup, this past weekend on the Cooper River in Collingswood, N.J., and both brought home medals.
The No. 19 men’s crew team took home the gold by edging out Bucknell by 2.62 seconds. They jumped into the Top 20 in the nation for the first time since May 2008.
“It’s definitely great [to get the win and the ranking], but we have to go out and win our races by considerable margins because we don’t have too many against teams that are ahead of us,” senior rower Pat Curran said. “We have to perform to prove that we deserve to be ranked even higher than No. 19.”
“They really came through with flying colors today,” coach Gavin White added. “They jumped out in the lead and held everyone off.”
White had called the men’s season somewhat inconsistent until the Varsity 8’s Knecht Cup title. With the win, he said the team’s mindset now moves onto the SIRA Regatta this Saturday in Oak Ridge, Tenn., and the Dad Vail Regatta later this season.
“Most of the teams we faced will be in the Dad Vail, and we really wanted to perform well against them,” White said.
The men’s second Varsity 8 also produced a strong showing and claimed second place. White said he was pleased with both outcomes.
“Certainly we would have loved to win both races, but the Drexel crew that beat our second Varsity 8 did a nice job,” White said. “Our kids performed as well as they have all year, so we feel pretty good about it, and we can build on it in the next few weeks.”
White praised the performances and leadership of the Varsity 8 seniors – Brendan Cunningham, Thomas Masterson and Curran.
Curran said the team’s confidence level was high entering the race despite the lineup being put together the morning of the event. The Owls were facing good teams, but they were favored to win and, in the end, refused to row down to the level of their competition, he said.
“In the final, everything seemed to come into place,” Curran said. “The expectation is always going to be to win, and our confidence level is definitely up right now.”
The women’s Varsity 8 earned its medal in a different way than the men. The Owls came from behind in their final heat and fended off Drexel by the razor-thin margin of .15 seconds to earn a third-place victory. The Owls were beat out by Buffalo by 1.45 seconds for the silver medal.
Temple’s second Varsity 8 also made the finals and placed sixth.
“It was tremendous,” coach Tim Hagan said. “They did a really good job. They really clicked this week in practice, and it carried over to the races. I’m just really excited about the A-10 Championships next week.”
“Each week we’ve gotten faster and faster” Hagan added. “Each race, we’ve gotten more and more confidence, and it has definitely been building all year, so this week was really indicative of how this season has gone.”
Senior captain Mary Webster said the team will look to build on its third-place finish going into the Atlantic Ten Championships this Saturday.
“It took every one of us to do it, and I’m just glad that we did because we can’t let Drexel beat us,” Wagner said. “Every practice we try to start where we left off from and get faster in the water every day.
“The expectations are high [for A-10s], and none of us are going to be happy unless we medal this weekend, and that is the way it should be.”
Both teams entered this past weekend coming off the 28th annual Murphy Cup Regatta, which they hosted in Philadelphia earlier this month. The men’s Varsity 8 finished second that day and failed in its bid to dethrone Jacksonville, the defending Murphy Cup Champions. The Dolphins edged out the Owls by four seconds. The men’s team also raced two boats in the second Varsity 8 event, and they finished second and third. The women’s Varsity 8 qualified for the Murphy Cup final but only took sixth place.
Raymond Boyd can be reached at email@example.com.