Varsity 4 emerges victorious in Dad Vail tune-up

The boat out-rowed Drexel, Villanova, St. Joseph’s University, Philadelphia University and La Salle.

After a first place finish, the Varsity 4 boat took part in one of the sport’s long standing traditions.

In a celebratory atmosphere, the Owls tossed their coxswain, Eleanor Oken, into the Schuylkill after the Varsity 4 boat out-rowed cross city rivals Drexel, Villanova, St. Joseph’s University, Philadelphia University and La Salle to earn a gold medal in the Bergen/Kelly Cup. The Varsity 4 won in a time of 7:38 seconds.

After losing to Drexel in the Knecht Cup by a significant amount, the Novice 8 finished ahead of the Dragons with a time of 6:56 seconds, but could not hold of Villanova, as the Owls settled for a second place finish.

Coach Rebecca Grzybowski said the Freshman 8’s race was a great indication of the boat’s increase in speed during the last few weeks.

After assembling the second Varsity 8 boat a day before the Kelly Cup, primarily in preparation for the Dad Vails, the Owls took second place with a time of 7:37 seconds.

“That was the most pleasant surprise of the day,” Grzybowski said. “For them to be very composed in a varsity race and to have a really solid sprint without much practice is awesome. I think it really bodes well for the future of the program.”

The second Varsity 8 boat led by coxswain Erin Matz fell behind Drexel to take second place, but Grzybowski said the team had a good performance as it out rowed St. Joe’s and La Salle.

As the day went on, the head wind increased which Grzybowski said led the Varsity 8 boat to a third place.

“We definitely didn’t execute to our ability level, which was unfortunate,” Grzybowski said.  “So hopefully they will turn it around for the next few weeks.”

With two weeks until the Dad Vail Regatta, Grzybowski said the team remains focused.

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

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