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UD men's crew club team wins five medals at Dad Vail Regatta

The University of Delaware men’s crew club team displayed its depth as a program at the 78th annual Aberdeen Dad Vail Regatta, with eight grand final appearances and five medals at the championship. 

The regatta, held May 13-14 on the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia, featured more than 3,000 athletes from 130 colleges and universities.

The varsity lightweight eight with coxswain (8+) earned a silver medal in the grand final. The crew of coxswain Jacob Filby (Class of 2018), Colin Dabagian (2016), Andrew Kershaw (2016), David Caspers (2016), Marco Grant (2016), Cooper Hurley (2018), William Roman (2017), Brian Kungl (2019) and Willy Marello (2018) held the lead for the first 500 meters of the race but at the turn on the course Mercyhurst College took a slight lead on the Fightin’ Blue Hen crew. 

The two crews traded seats in the middle 1,000 meters but in the closing 400 meters of the race Mercyhurst opened up a lead and finished 2.2 seconds ahead of UD. The Hens finished 17.3 seconds ahead of third place Purdue University, 27.5 seconds ahead of fourth place SUNY Geneseo, and 43.3 seconds ahead of fifth place Purdue University.

In the 25-year history of the program, it was UD's 11th medal in the men's varsity lightweight eight, and ninth in a row. 

In 2009, 2013 and 2015 the Hens won gold, while in 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2014 they earned silver.

The varsity lightweight four with coxswain (4+) earned a spot on the podium after just missing the medals dock the past two years at the regatta. The University of Virginia led the pack wire to wire in the grand final, with the UD crew of coxswain Chandler Clemens (2016), Kyle McCaig (2017), Nathan Seidman (2018), John Walker (2018) and Corey Brown (2016) holding on to second place for much of the race. 

UD crossed the line 4.9 seconds behind Virginia but 2.7 seconds ahead of third place Fordham University, 3.2 seconds ahead of fourth place University of Michigan, 10 seconds ahead of fifth place Temple University and 15.6 seconds ahead of sixth place Lafayette College.

“I’m very proud of our lightweight oarsmen earning a silver with all the challenges we had this year,” said coach Chuck Crawford, in his 22nd year at the helm of the program. “From top to bottom in the squad our guys push one another to compete at a high level. The varsity lightweight 4+ is always one of the most competitive events at the Dad Vail Regatta, and I’m very proud of toughness they displayed in the final to earn a spot on the medals dock.”

In one of the most exciting races of the day, UD fielded two teams in the freshman/novice B 8+. 

The freshman lightweight 8+ entry of coxswain Maeve Hughes, Ron Haines, Michael Kueny, Hanan Zisling, Noah Mogil, Edoardo Frezza, Thomas Patterson, Samuel Bacharach and Doug Steventon (all of the Class of 2019) crossed the line first to earn a gold medal, 4.4 seconds ahead of UD’s freshman heavyweight B team.

That team of coxwasin Margaret Dolan, Adam Fingerhut, Noah Freeman, Dane Malanoski, Prescott Weishaar, Matt Lachenauer, Diego Delgado, Justin Koch and Brian Peck finished 11.7 seconds ahead of third place Purdue University, 34.2 seconds ahead of fourth place University of Michigan and 53 seconds ahead of fifth place Michigan State University.

In UD’s final medal performance of the day, lightweight oarsman Reid Cucci of the Class of 2017 raced in the collegiate single after competing in the junior varsity eight-plus and earned a silver medal against many open weight competitors. 

Colgate University crossed the line first, with Cucci in second, but 1.4 seconds ahead of third place West Virginia University, 9.3 seconds ahead of fourth place University of Pittsburgh, 35.2 seconds ahead of fifth place College of William and Mary and 43.6 seconds ahead of sixth place University of Dayton.

The varsity 8+ fell just back of the grand finals in Saturday’s semifinal to the University of Michigan, Army and St. Joseph’s University. 

However in the second final the crew of coxswain Hannah Hartford (2016), James Trunley (2018), Sean Leary (2016), Sean McBride (2016), Aidan Gause (2016), Grant Gaydosh (2018), Francis Field (2018), Nick Ruggiero (2018) and Austin Craig (2017) crossed the line three seconds behind first place Purdue University and 2.5 seconds behind Grand Valley State University in the second final, but finished 2.1 seconds ahead of fourth place St. Joseph’s University, 5.5 seconds ahead of fifth place University of Cincinnati and 9.7 seconds ahead of sixth place the University of North Carolina.

UD’s junior varsity 8+, third varsity 8+, freshman 8+ and freshman 4+ all missed medals in the grand finals but finished sixth, fifth, fourth and fifth, respectively, and contributed points by earning grand finals appearances. 

The Hens finished third in both the men’s and overall team point trophies for the regatta.

“We had a very strong spring season overall,” said heavyweight coach Joe Kleiman, in his 10th season with the program. “The varsity 8+ had a tough semifinal where we fell back off the start of the race, but the crew rebounded in the second final and posted a fast time. I’m very proud of our student-athletes, especially our graduating seniors they were tremendous contributors to our success this year.”

UD men's crew will send select crews to the American Collegiate Rowing Association Championship to be held May 28-29 in Gainesville, Georgia.

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