UD MENS CREW FINISHES 74TH AT ABERDEEN DAD VAIL REGATTA
The University of Delaware men's crew posted impressive finishes at the 74th Aberdeen Dad Vail Regatta, with top performances in the lightweight events. The regatta, held May 11-12 on the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia, featured more than 3,000 athletes from 127 colleges and universities.
The UD club program had three boats competing in the grand finals of Saturday's racing. The men's varsity lightweight eight returned to the podium with a silver medal performance for the third year in a row, while the men's freshmen/novice lightweight hoisted the Brendan Lynch Cup after garnering gold in the grand final. The men's varsity lightweight four finished fifth in the grand final, after a strong performance in heats and semifinal racing.
In the final for the men's freshmen/novice lightweight eight, UD's crew of Danni Weader, Mike LaChant, Joe Kenny, Todd Summers, Nick Ippolito, Tom Wilhelm, Matt Piano, Lucas Harrison and Joe Mohnack crossed the line first in 6:18.658, ahead of Purdue University (6:24.949), the University of Michigan (6:33.662), the University of Vermont (6:50.020), the University of Pittsburgh (6:51.016) and Susquehanna University (6:58.238).
The Hens came into the regatta as the favorite and seeded first overall, but Purdue challenged for the first 1,000 meters of the race. The Boilermakers held a slight lead in the first 650 meters of the race, but after a surge at the halfway mark the Hens reclaimed the lead and pulled away in the closing 500 meters.
"Purdue is a good crew and made us earn it today," said assistant coach Phil Kleiman, a 2008 UD alumnus. "Our guys have raced hard all year and our challenging racing schedule and training prepared us to peak at the Dad Vail Regatta. I'm happy for the crew, I'm glad we ended the season on a high note and I'm looking forward to the rowers contributing over the next three years on the varsity program."
In the men's varsity lightweight eight final, UD's boat of Megan Caplan, James Buckmann, Bob Bigelow, Caleb Justis, Russell Garrett, Will Purman, Barrett Dickey, Alec Walczak and Ryan Hilker earned a spot in the grand final after finishing first in the semifinal race. In the final, UD held a lead through the first 650 meters of the race but was challenged by Mercyhurst College at the halfway mark. The Lakers gained a half boat of open water advantage in the closing 500 meters and crossed the line first in 6:11.521 with the Hens in second (6:17.479), followed by St. Joseph's University (6:22.588), the University of Michigan (6:24.789), Purdue University (6:35.366) and Fordham University (6:38.388).
"Mercyhurst did a great job racing," lightweight coach Joe Federici said. "They rowed the conditions better in the second half of the final and kept their composure. Overall I'm pleased with our lightweight program -- across the board it was great to have boats in all the lightweight finals. Our crews are young, so I'm excited for the future of UD lightweight rowing."
Two seat Alec Walczak echoed Federici's thoughts. "I'm proud of the team as a whole, it's a very young squad. Everyone raced tough at Dad Vails, and it was great experience for the oarsmen who will be returning next year. I'm confident everyone will stay motivated and will raise the bar even higher for next year's Dad Vail Regatta."
In the 21-year history of the program, it was UD's seventh medal in the men's varsity lightweight eight, and fifth in a row. In 2009 the Hens won gold, while in 2008, 2010, 2011 and 2012 they earned silver.
In the men's varsity lightweight four final, UD's boat of Andrew Seidman, Dan Salerno, Justin Miller, Ricardo Nieves and Pat Walsh finished first in Saturday's semi final race. In the grand final, the University of Chicago and Milwaukee School of Engineering rowed to the front of the pack, with the University of Minnesota, University of Virginia and UD battling for third place. The Gophers edged a half boat open water lead over the Hens in the closing 500 meters, with the Cavaliers also clipping the Hens in the final 500 meters. Chicago crossed first in 6:54.428, followed by Milwaukee (6:56.019), Minnesota (7:02.364), Virginia (7:07.489), UD (7:07.768) and the University of California Berkeley (7:08.548).
"Our lightweight program continues to demonstrate that it is one of the top in the country," said head coach Chuck Crawford, in his 18th year at UD. "Our squads are filled with youth and depth both at the varsity and novice levels as we displayed at this year's regatta."
UD also had two other crews that advanced to Saturday's semifinal racing. UD's men's varsity heavyweight eight of Kyle Moyer, Kevin McCarthy, Ed Rees, Stephen Todderud, Carl Burgazli, Chris Salpeas, Sean Mack, Jack Neff and Chris Prust finished sixth in the semifinal, while the men's freshmen heavyweight eight of Tristan Salvadori, R.J. Schiligen, Clayton Carr, Tom Coffin, Nick Prust, Nick Indrisano, Dan McCole, Tim Abel and Ryan White finished third.