Senior Patrick Kenny with his bronze medal from the varsity heavyweight eight race.

Men's crew medals at Dad Vail

UD varsity heavyweight, varsity lightweight eights take podium at regatta

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8:37 a.m., May 16, 2011--The University of Delaware men's crew had another impressive Aberdeen Dad Vail Regatta, with both the varsity heavyweight eight and varsity lightweight eight earning spots on the medals podium. The 73rd Dad Vail Regatta, held May 13-14 in Philadelphia, featured more than 3,000 athletes from 120 colleges and universities.

The UD program had four boats racing the grand finals Saturday, with a junior varsity eight as well as a varsity lightweight four advancing through the heats and semifinals. UD finished third in the men's points standings behind the University Michigan and the University of Virginia, and third in the overall points behind Purdue University and Michigan.

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In the men's varsity heavyweight eight event, UD's boat of coxswain Samantha McDonald, Colin Ethridge, Sean Rader, Derek Maier, Patrick Kenny, Owen Coyle, Barrett Dickey, William Purman and Robert Bigelow crossed the line third in 5:51.06, behind Michigan (5:48.05) and Florida Institute of Technology (5:50.97), and ahead of Virginia (5:52.33), Williams College (5:55.52) and Jacksonville University (5:56.76).

In the first 500 meters of the race, Michigan held a slight lead on the field, with UD in a very close pack of five boats racing for second place. Michigan extended its lead in by the 1,500-meter mark, with FIT, Virginia and UD exchanging strokes for second place. By the halfway mark, Michigan settled into first place, and UD and FIT continued to battle for second, the difference never more than two seats and with Virginia close behind. Entering the last 500 meters of the race, UD held the second place position, but with 250 meters to go FIT charged ahead to clip the Hens at the line.

"I don't think I ever sprinted so hard before in a race," said senior captain and seven seat Sean Rader. "We were aiming for the gold, but I've never been so proud of a race before. The entire boat stayed tough; we knew we had to dig deep and go for it, and no one in the boat backed down."

Six seat senior Patrick Kenny, a member of the 2010 United States Under-23 rowing team, echoed Rader's thoughts. "Michigan is a very good crew as they displayed today. We were able to come together and finish strong in the last 500 meters to grab a medal. It was so close that when we crossed the line I didn't know if we got second or fourth, all crews put on such a charge at the finish."

In the 20-year history of the UD program, it is the fourth medal in the men's varsity eight event. Last year the Blue Hens finished second to Brock University in the race.

"The seniors we have this year are a very special group," said head coach Chuck Crawford, in his 17th year at the helm of the program. "They started their careers as Dad Vail champions at the freshmen level, and they leave again on the medals stand. Coach Joe Federici trained all the lightweights throughout this season and was able to get them to perform at the highest physical level, and we couldn't have done this without his help. I'm very proud of all their efforts, what everyone did today was remarkable."

In the men's varsity lightweight eight, UD's boat of coxswain Timothy Connolly, Matthew Ward, Legare Smith, Alec Walczak, Dylan Dartnell, Patrick Cleveland, Chris Church, James Buckmann and Ryan Hilker was able to earn a spot in the grand final after finishing second in the heat to Mercyhurst College. In the final, UD established a lead off the start, extending to almost a boat length lead on Mercyhurst by the halfway mark. In the closing 500 meters, the Lakers drew even with the Hens and crossed the line first at 6:06.59 to UD's 6:09.9. Michigan finished third in 6:11.56, followed by St. Joseph's University (6:15.08), Marietta College (6:22.08) and Purdue (6:26.66). 

"We raced much better and aggressively in the final than in our heat," said seven seat Legare Smith. "We executed our race plan better than in the previous race against Mercyhurst, and we have no regrets. Everyone gave everything they could each stroke during the race."

"Mercyhurst is a very well-coached program," said lightweight coach Joe Federici, in his third year coaching at UD. "We knew they were going to be a quick crew, so we made some adjustments for the finals race plan. I'm very happy for all the rowers today, from the lightweights that earned a spot in our top eight to the guys rowing in the lightweight eight and lightweight four, they made our program very proud today."

In the varsity lightweight four event, the crew of coxswain Angelo Ferelli, Scott Murray, Ted Washabaugh, Daniel Galginaitis and Ricardo Nieves finished fourth in the grand final. UD stayed traded spots for second and third place for much of the race, but was edged in the last 500 meters. The University of California Berkeley crossed first in 6:40.57, followed by Temple University (6:45.92), the University of Chicago (6:46.56), UD (6:49.04), the University of Pittsburgh (6:52.4) and Loyola Marymount University (6:53.32).

The Hens also finished fourth in the men's junior varsity eight grand final. The crew of coxswain Kyle Moyer, Kevin McCarthy, Trace Thews, Sean Mack, Kyle Brown, James Duff, Edward Rees, Dan Salerno and Justin Miller finished second in the semi-final behind Michigan. In the final, Virginia crossed the line first in 5:56.37, followed by Michigan (5:58.4), Temple (6:01.54), UD (6:07.33), Purdue (6:12.36) and Drexel University (6:24.28). 

"I have never been so proud of the whole team after a performance in my four years of rowing at Delaware," remarked Rader. "From the coaching staff preparing us all season for Dad Vails, to all the work everyone has done to push themselves and each other, everyone left everything they had out on the water today."

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