Varsity 8 boat earns silver in opener

The Owls opened up their spring season with the Murphy Cup Regatta.

The men’s crew team opened up its spring season at the Murphy Cup Regatta on the Cooper River in Camden, N.J. on Saturday, as the varsity 8 boat fell just short of earning a first-place finish.

With 32 teams competing, the Owls used the regatta as a measuring stick to see how they will stack up this season against some of the nation’s top rowing programs. When the varsity 8 team won its heat in a time of 7:17, its coxswain, Dante Romeo, said it wasn’t a surprise.

“We knew we could win so we took it off the start and blasted all out and then just gradually found a rhythm and went right through the finish line. It was not hectic, it was easy to win,” Romeo said.

In the finals, however, the Owls faced some premier rowing programs, including nationally ranked Michigan and Virginia.

“We knew we had to be a lot faster and be ready to race Michigan,” Romeo said.

When the race began, Romeo said the Owls and the Wolverines were neck and neck in the first 1,000 meters of the race.

“It was just the two of us racing,” Romeo said. “We just took a lead out on everybody and I didn’t expect that to happen. I though Virginia was going to be a little bit faster. It turned into almost a duel between us and them.”

Within the last 1,000 meters of the race, Romero said the men’s varsity 8 boat lost its rhythm along with five or six strokes. As a result, the Wolverines took advantage crossing the finish line first. The boat of Romero featured Tom Robbins (stroke), Charles Anderson (seat-7), Brian Reifsnyder (seat-6), Dan Sipzner (seat-5), Fergal Barry (seat-4), Evan Hammond (seat-3), Josh Kuzo (seat-2) and Ryan Dartnell (bow). The group took second place, earning a silver medal.

The men’s junior varsity 8 team also finished in second place behind Virginia and ahead of Michigan’s B team to earn a spot in the finals. In the finals, the boat of Truman Levine (coxswain), Conor Murphy (stroke), Pat Woodruff (seat-7), Bryan Berry (seat-6), Gary Wielgus (seat-5), Zephyr Dippel (seat-4), Stephen Lindeman (seat-3), Hunter Devine (seat-2) and Mario DiCarlo (bow) could not out row Michigan as it crossed the finish line in first place. Temple had to settle for second place, earning a silver medal with a time of 6:53.

In the finals, the novice 4+ boat of Kati Jordan Funck (coxswain), Vittorio Dipentino (seat-4), Dylan McCreavy (seat-3), TJ Kuhar (seat-2) and Roby Byrne (bow) took second place finish behind Michigan.

“What I learned from today is that we are in the mix,” coach Gavin White said. “With six weeks of training we can win the Dad Vail.”

The Owls will compete against Bucknell next Saturday on the Schuylkill.

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

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