Novice 8 boat races to second place finish at Murphy Cup

The women novice 8 enjoyed the most success of the Owls at the 32th annual Murphy Cup Regatta on Saturday.

Rain and wind was a factor for much of the day, as more than 1,000 competitors from schools including Navy, Bucknell and Michigan converged on the Cooper River in New Jersey.

Although the weather conditions were not favorable, the novice A boat featuring coxswain Aubery Foden, Kayla Dorney (seat-7), Rachael Bracca (seat-6), Emily Mehler (seat-5), Sydney Garofolo (seat-5) Jenna Bahel (seat-4), Kaitlyn Grsanti (seat-3), Aimee Meissner (seat-2) and Samantha Sederstrand (bow) was not perturbed, taking second place behind Navy with a time of 8:42 in the novice 8 finals. The Owls qualified for the finals after finishing second in their heat.

“We are really proud of them,” coach Rebecca Grzybowsk said. “They had a really solid race in the heat, first of all, and started realizing that they had the speed that it took and I think it was a really good performance for them in terms of developing their confidence that they do belong in the A final. So to walk away with a second place medal is awesome.”

The Owls’ junior varsity 8 boat and the varsity 8 boat also qualified for the finals.  The varsity 8 boat of Kelsey Franks (coxswain), Victoria Joye (seat-8), Jackie Lees (seat-7), Megan Boyer (seat-6), Callista DiGuardia (seat-5), Allison Watkins (seat-4), Kara Carson (seat-3), Moira Meekes (seat-2) and Lauren Kidd (bow) took third in the heat to advance to the petite final.  In the finals, the varsity 8 boat finished in fourth place.

After finishing second in the heats, The junior varsity 8 boat of Erin Matz (coxswain), Lea Millio (seat-8), Emily Opperman (seat-7), Stephanie Barber (seat-6), Sarah Barber (seat-5), Annie Buckley (seat-4), Leyland (seat-3), Grace Kroner (seat-2) and Susan O’Neil Coyne (bow) rowed to a sixth place finish.

The varsity 4 A and B teams finished in second and fourth places, respectively, in their heat.

Now that the women’s team has competed in two events to start the spring season, Grzybowski said she is using the races to gauge the team’s speed. In the weeks to come the team will work with their speed, Grzybowski said.

“It’s that base speed and trusting that you have the gear that you need when you are in the thick of a race with a crew right next to you. It’s knowing that you have the legs underneath you – you have the fitness,” Grzybowski said.

The women’s rowing team will get the opportunity to test its speed next Saturday when they will race against Bucknell, Drexel and Duquese on the Schuylkill.

Danielle Nelson can be reached at or on Twitter @Dan_Nels.

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