One week after strong performances at the prestigious Head of the Charles Regatta in Boston, the Drexel University men’s and women’s crew teams returned to action Oct. 27 at the Head of the Schuylkill Regatta.
While Drexel sent just two boats to Boston a week earlier, one men’s eight and one women’s eight, the Dragons entered 12 boats to compete against tough competition at the Head of the Schuylkill. The vast majority of Drexel boats competed at the top of their respective events on the day, which is evidence of the incredible depth of the program.
After the day’s races concluded, Drexel emerged with its third straight Head of the Schuylkill overall team title. Following the competition, head coach Paul Savell was very happy about his team’s performance, from the varsity boats all the way down to the novice boat.
“We are extremely proud of our third consecutive points title at the Head of the Schuylkill because of what it means for the depth of the team and the overall program,” Savell said. “The competition within the team is stronger than it has ever been. This team title speaks to the kind of depth and caliber we are racing at right now.”
The first race of the day for Drexel was the men’s open four, in which Drexel placed 24th out of 42 teams, defeating Rutgers University, La Salle University and Duke University, among others. Jacquelyn Durkin coxed the LeBow College of Business boat of David Gockley, Milos Rujevic, Andrew Weinstein and bow Brian Kissam to the finish in 15:31.49.
Next on the water for the Drexel men were the two men’s collegiate novice eight boats. Finishing first of the two was the novice A crew in the Vince Vidas boat, consisting of coxswain Thomas Nguyen, stroke Mikulas Sum, Michael DiLucca, Daniel Palombo, Daniel Dollin, Paul Bellefleur, Nicholas Capaldi, Lawrence Lindawan and bow Daniel Pyle. The men’s novice eight A put together a good race, placing fourth of 29 boats in 13:10.53.
The men’s novice eight B squad was in the same race, finishing 16th of 29 in 14:52.69. The Peggy Greenawalt boat was steered by coxswain Christopher Henderson and powered by stroke Bryce Pennie, Jacob Bond, Todd Keiser, Dave Hanrahan, Geoff Wittenberg, Dan Carr, Michael Aleixo and bow Leif Malm. Princeton took the first two places in the event in fast times of 12:27.27 and 12:49.18.
Soon after the men’s novice race ended, the men’s open club eights were underway. Drexel had a great showing in this event, placing both of its second varsity eights in the top three. The men’s second varsity A team in the Joseph Greipp boat crossed the line with the event’s fastest time in 12:50.45. The winning boat included coxswain Marc Smith, stroke Kurt Linton, Cameron Staines, Aleksandar Radovic, Ryan Mallgrave, James Byrne, Jake Murphy, John Pieper and bow Christian Ladd.
The second varsity B boat finished third with a time of 13:13.86, behind only Drexel’s second varsity A and the Potomac Boat Club, which finished second in 13:08.53. The third-place Antoinette Pennoni boat contained coxswain Victoria Kenion, stroke Timothy Drake, Adam Cordi, Ryan McSpedon, Casimir Czworkowski, Marko Durica, Hartman Byers, Mahmoud Shurbaji and bow Matt Gehret.
The final and most anticipated Drexel men’s race of the day was the men’s open heavy championship eight final. The Dragons’ varsity eight obliterated the field in this race, taking first place in 12:27.34, which was far ahead of second-place Potomac in 12:54.32 and third-place Saint Joseph’s University in 13:02.72. The first-place Lois Krall boat featured coxswain Diana Fox, stroke Dean Hill, Paul Wisniowski, Sebastian Ryan, Vanja Busic, Michael Faust, Lorenzo Albala, Grigorios Papadourakis and bow Brian McCabe. Savell was proud of all of his athletes and their ability to execute the strategy they have established throughout the season.
“There were a lot of highlights that day. … Each week our goal was to pick up more speed than our competition,” Savell said. “We want to get better and have a bigger incremental speed increase than any other team. That kind of thinking helps create momentum.”
While the Drexel men had a great day of racing, they were not alone; the Drexel women also had a slew of standout performances. Opening the day of racing for the women were the two women’s novice eights. The novice eight A boat led the way for Drexel in the 27-team event with a third-place finish and time of 15:08.75. The Dragons finished behind only Old Dominion University and the United States Naval Academy in 14:52.39 and 15:05.37, respectively. Coxswain Rachel Bowen, stroke Rose Ehrlich, Julie McGlynn, Taylor Brady, Rebecca McCool, Megan Raver, Kimberly Whitbeck, Jordan Marinchak and bow Kate Wilchek propelled the third-place Marlene Buckley boat along the course.
In the same race, the women’s novice eight B squad finished 12th, recording a time of 16:41.96. Coxswain Ariana Kaufmann, Caitlin Bubel, Carli Moorehead, Olivia Carigan, Elisabeth Wagner, Ashley Liddell, Patience Dodgson, Skye Miller and bow Rio Monte paced the John Daskalakis boat to the 12th-place finish.
Similar to the men, the Drexel women entered two second varsity boats in the women’s open club eights final, and both boats finished in the top five. The second varsity A team in the Marlene Buckley boat stopped the clock with the event’s third-best time of 14:34.39, trailing only Trinity College and Navy at 14:22.52 and 14:31.10, respectively. The third-place Drexel boat consisted of coxswain Sarah Messenger, stroke Tori King, Mallory Sykes, Kayla Wroblesky, Emily Gartland, Amanda Kleuser, Bridget Pfeifer, Amanda Dargay and bow Alexa Antonioli.
The Drexel women’s second varsity B boat checked in two places behind the Marlene Buckley boat, notching a time of 14:58.07 for fifth place. Coxswain Catherine Hamilton, stroke Meredith Bracken, Sierra Baca, Jayme Batcher, Elise Panacek, Kathy Cheng, Alyssa Leahy, Barbara McKenna and bow Elise Levito led the second varsity B boat to the top-five finish.
In the very last race of the day, the women’s varsity eight competed in the women’s open heavy championship eight final, where they finished sixth of 27 boats. The Marlene Buckley II boat clocked in at 14:16.53 on the efforts of coxswain Kerry Walsh, stroke Julia Jackson, Elizabeth Campanella, Olivia Babiec, Samantha Cowan, Amanda O’Malley, Elizabeth Daugherty, Mollie Cusack and bow Colleen Delaney. Michigan State University placed first in the event in 13:56.45, just a split second ahead of Navy in 13:56.65.
The Dragons will conclude the 2012 fall season Nov. 10 in Cherry Hill, N.J., at the Frostbite Regatta. Savell is excited to see what his team can do in its last competition of the year, which is slightly different from the Dragons’ previous few races.
“The Frostbite is a 2,000-meter sprint format on the Cooper River in New Jersey, which will feature great racing. We have shifted gears to focus on sprint racing,” Savell said. “Drexel will have 12 boats coming down the course in consecutive races. This is a very spectator-friendly race, and we are hoping for a good turnout to support the team.”
Make the trip to cheer on your fellow Dragons as they look to continue their momentum and finish the season strong this weekend.