The Drexel University men’s and women’s crew teams capped off their fall seasons on a high note Nov. 10 at the Frostbite Regatta on the Cooper River in Cherry Hill, N.J. With 11 boats competing in the day’s events, the Dragons fared exceptionally well, walking away with gold in six of the events. The regatta featured a 2,000-meter sprint-style course, a distinct change from the longer-distance races Drexel has competed in thus far this season. Leading up to the race, head coach Paul Savell adjusted his team’s focus in order to prepare them for the new distance. The Drexel boats took to the water in consecutive races, with all of them competing within a span of two hours. The novice races started the day, with the junior varsity events second and the varsity races headlining at the end of the day.
Evidently, Savell was successful in accommodating his team to the new length, as they put together one good race after another. Three of the Drexel women’s varsity eight boats were particularly dominant, sweeping all three of their races. The women’s first varsity eight was most impressive, running away from the field in Final 1 with a time of 7:04. West Virginia University and George Mason University finished second and third with 7:12 and 7:17, respectively. Coxswain Sarah Messenger, stroke Olivia Babiec, Elizabeth Campanella, Julia Jackson, Samantha Cowan, Kayla Wroblesky, Mollie Cusack, Amanda O’Malley and bow Colleen Delaney rowed the Marlene Buckley II boat to victory.
The women’s second varsity eight was equally dominant in Final 2, cruising to victory in 7:17, which was 17 seconds ahead of second-place La Salle University at 7:34. The first-place Maria Papadakis boat featured coxswain Kerry Walsh, Tori King, Alexa Antonioli, Amanda Dargay, Sierra Baca, Amanda Kleuser, Alyssa Leahy, Jayme Batcher and bow Elizabeth Daugherty.
The last of the three women’s varsity included two Drexel boats, which finished in first and fifth places, respectively. The winning third varsity eight team in the Marlene Buckley boat sealed the Drexel sweep in the event by finishing in 7:30, ahead of Loyola University Maryland, La Salle and The College of New Jersey in second, third and fourth, respectively. Catherine Hamilton coxed the Dragons to the win along with her teammates: stroke Meredith Bracken, Bridget Pfeifer, Emily Gartland, Mallory Sykes, Kathy Cheng, Elise Panacek, Barbara McKenna and bow Elise Levito.
The other Drexel squad in Final 3 was the fourth women’s varsity eight in the John Daskalakis boat, which finished ahead of Scranton University for fifth place in a time of 8:24. Coxswain Ariana Kaufmann, stroke Katie Farnsworth, Elisabeth Wagner, Emily Barth, Patience Dodgson, Olivia Carigan, Ashley Liddell, Alicia Hoy and bow Rio Monte comprised the fifth-place boat.
Savell was extremely satisfied with his women’s varsity eight crews and their dominance in their events, saying, “This was really an impressive feat. The women have worked hard and made constant improvements all season. It was great to see this kind of determination pay off.”
On the men’s side, Drexel’s first varsity eight crew put together a fast race in Final 1, finishing in 6:10, which was good for first place ahead of crosstown foe Temple University at 6:17. The Dragons also defeated Washington College, Ithaca College, the University of Delaware and Bucknell University in the event. The victorious Lois Krall boat consisted of coxswain Diana Fox, stroke Aleksandar Radovic, Vanja Busic, Michael Faust, Ryan Mallgrave, John Pieper, Lorenzo Albala, Kurt Linton and bow Brian McCabe.
In Final 2 of the same event, the Drexel men’s second varsity eight crossed the line in fifth place in 7:10 and ahead of Scranton at 7:22. The Vince Vidas boat was paced by coxswain Jacquelyn Durkin, stroke Oleg Gratwick, Paul Wisniowski, Geoff Wittenberg, Jacob Smith, David Leach, Brian Kissam, Mike Aleixo and bow Andrew Weinstein.
About an hour before the last men’s varsity race began, the junior varsity races took place. Drexel entered two boats in each of the two races in the men’s JV event. In Final 1, Drexel’s first junior varsity team battled Delaware in a very tight race, but Delaware pulled out a narrow two-second victory in 6:14 against the Dragons’ 6:16. Drexel’s runner-up team in the Joseph Greipp boat included coxswain Marc Smith, stroke Dean Hill, Milos Rujevic, Marko Durico, Casimir Czworkowski, James Byrne, Jake Murphy, Mahmoud Shurbaji and bow Hartman Byers.
Final 2 of the men’s JV race featured the men’s second JV squad in the Antoinette Pennoni shell. The Dragons claimed first place in the race in 6:25, defeating Bucknell, La Salle, Washington College, the University of Maryland, and Ithaca. The winning Drexel boat was controlled by coxswain Victoria Kenion and powered by stroke Timothy Drake, Christian Ladd, David Gockley, Cameron Staines, Ryan McSpedon, Troy Beck, Matt Gehret and Adam Cordi.
The earliest events to begin on the day were the novice races, in which Drexel had two men’s boats and one women’s boat participating. The Drexel women’s novice eight obliterated their competition, winning in 7:34, which was 36 seconds faster than second-place George Mason at 8:10. The first-place women also defeated Lehigh University, Philadelphia University, Binghamton University and Lafayette University. The dominant Drexel crew in the Marlene Buckley boat included coxswain Rachel Bowan, stroke Rose Ehrlich, Julie McGlynn, Taylor Brady, Rebecca McCool, Megan Raver, Caitlin Bubel, Jordan Marinchak and bow Kate Wilchek.
In Final 1 of the men’s novice races, Drexel’s first novice eight team in the Vince Vidas boat finished second in 6:24, nine seconds behind Delaware at 6:15. The Drexel boat featured coxswain Christopher Henderson, stroke Mikulas Sum, Michael DiLucca, Daniel Palombo, Daniel Dollin, Nicholas Capaldi, Dave Hanrahan, Lawrence Lindawan and bow Daniel Pyle.
Drexel’s men’s second novice eight squad crossed the line in third place ahead of Ithaca in Final 2. The Peggy Greenawalt boat showcased coxswain Thomas Nguyen, stroke Paul Bellefleur, Jacob Bond, Bryce Pennie, Dan Carr, Todd Keiser, Alex Knipe, Eric Troilo and bow Leif Malm.
With the fall season now in the books, Drexel’s men’s and women’s crew teams will now look forward to a winter of conditioning and preparation for the spring season. While the Dragons had a great fall season, they are not satisfied with where they are right now. Savell knows the team will look to continue its winning ways as they make the transition to the indoor part of the season.
“Winning always helps keep the momentum going. The team seems excited to go indoors and make some gains on the erg and in the weight room,” Savell said. “We know if we want to stay ahead of the competition, we need to make bigger strides in the offseason than our competition. “
The crew teams hope to improve over the next few months in order to start the spring season strong at the Murphy Cup Regatta March 30 on the Cooper River.