With five seniors to provide experience and leadership and eight sophomores to provide much needed depth, the Penn lightweight crew headed into the fall season looking to get back on a winning track. The Quakers started off strong, finishing seventh out of 24 crews in the lightweight eight at the Head of the Charles in a time of 13:56.25. The Red and Blue continued their success with a win the next week, as the freshman eight took the men’s lightweight championship at the Head of the Schuylkill in a time of 12:23.17. Another eight finished fifth in the college freshman/novice eight race with a time of 12:36.67.
Continuing the fall campaign, the Quakers finished sixth and 20th out of 30 entries in the men’s lightweight eight at the Princeton Chase, with times of 14:02.89 and 14:47.58 respectively. The Red and Blue also entered three boats in the lightweight four. Those crews finished in seventh, ninth and 25th place with times of 16:32.89, 16:35.91 and 17:08.75, respectively.
Penn’s freshman eight finished sixth and eighth in the lightweight eight at the Belly of the Carnegie to cap off the fall season. The Penn “B” boat crossed the finish line in 14:27.05, while the “A” boat finished in 14:27.22. Along with these finishes, the Red and Blue combined with the Penn heavyweight and women’s teams to finish third in the 2003 Belly Bowl with a composite time of 1:29:34.25.
Looking to continue their forward momentum, Penn took second in two of three races and won the third at the Lev-Brett Cup against Rutgers in the Quakers’ first event of the spring season. The next week, the Red and Blue continued their strong rowing, finishing third in the two varsity eight races and second in the freshman eight at the Matthew-Leonard Cup. The freshman eight was the closest race of the day, with Penn coming in second in 6:06.4.
The Quakers continued their improvement with a first, second and third place finish in their next event, the Dodge Cup. The Red and Blue won the freshman eight in 6:09.4, took second in the second varsity eight in 6:17.9, and third in the varsity eight with a time of 6:10.6. That showing catapulted Penn to its second consecutive victory in the freshman eight the next week at the Wood-Hammond Trophy. The freshman eight defeated Princeton by over three seconds with a time of 6:31.3, but the Quakers also finished third in both varsity eight races, falling to Georgetown and Princeton.
Rounding out the regular season, the Quakers competed against No. 1 Navy and Delaware in the Callow Cup. The Red and Blue finished third in the varsity eight and second in both the second varsity and freshman races, with times of 6:13.3, 6:18.4 and 6:12.4, respectively, before heading to the EARC Sprints.
Penn finished its season at the EARC Sprints in Worcester, Mass. as the varsity eight finished fifth in the Petite Final with a time of 6:06.36, which was good for 11th overall.
Written by Jennifer Hildebrand, Athletic Communications Assistant