Heavyweight Frosh Eight to Grand Final at IRAs

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Seeded No. 7 entering the IRA Regatta, the Frosh Eight has rowed up at least one spot, moving on to the Grand Final with a third-place result in its semifinal on Lake Natoma.

The Grand Final will be Penn’s first at IRAs since the frosh took third in 2006 – also the last time the Quakers medaled at the national championships. Penn’s novice boat will have a true test waiting on Sunday, with the No. 1-5 boats also in the Grand Final.

Penn moved on with a race equivalent to a true veteran crew. The first 500 meters went by with four boats within 2.41 seconds, and Penn in third just 1.21 seconds ahead of storied rival Princeton. The second 500m was where Penn made its move to take control of the final qualifying position. The Quakers went 1:30.96 over the interval, while the Tigers crossed the midway point with a second split of 1:32.00, giving the Quakers a 2.25-second cushion halfway through the all-important race. The Quakers did not relent, adding a half second to its advantage in the third quarter and almost another second in the final 500 to earn its Grand Final spot in a time of 6:04.726. No. 4 Brown was first in 5:59.439 while No. 5 Cornell was second in 6:02.712.

The finish higher than Princeton was the first for a Penn freshmen eight since 2006 when the Quakers were 4-0 against their rookie counterparts from New Jersey.

Rowing in the third semifinal to earn a spot in the Third Final, Penn’s Varsity Eight shook off any disappointment from a tough result in Friday’s repechages with a wire-to-wire win to secure the top seed in Sunday’s Third Final. The Red and Blue had a cushion if 1.606 seconds over second place Georgetown, posting the top split in the first three 500-meter intervals to pull away.

Penn had three boats in championship semifinals, but the Second Varsity, Varsity Four and Open Four all were unable to move on to the Grand Final. All three will row in Sunday’s Petite Finals.

Seeded No. 12, the 2V was in a semi with the Nos. 1, 4, 6 and 7 seeds. Fourth after the first 500m, the Quakers saw No. 7 Wisconsin put together a split that was 28 seconds faster than its opening 500 to move from sixth to ahead of the Red and Blue. The Quakers were able to hold off Syracuse by 1.723 seconds to take fifth in the semifinal.

The Varsity Four was unable to get any momentum early in its semifinal, finishing sixth to row in the Petite Final. The Open Four was Penn’s first boat out on Saturday morning, and held third place for three-quarters of the race. 500 meters away from a Grand Final, the Quakers were unable to stave off furious charges from Oregon State and Syracuse who both passed Penn. The Quakers finished fifth and will row in the Petite Final.

Sunday’s Schedule (All Times PST)
9:12 a.m. – Open Four Petite Final
9:36 a.m. – Varsity Four Petite Final
10:55 a.m. – Frosh Eight Grand Final
11:05 a.m. – Second Varsity Eight Petite Final
11:55 a.m. – Varsity Eight Third Final

Frosh Eight (Semifinal #2)
1. Brown 5:59.439
2. Cornell 6:02.712
3. Pennsylvania 6:04.726
4. Princeton 6:08.278
5. Drexel 6:13.572
6. George Washington 6:14.270

Varsity Eight (Semifinal #3)
1. Pennsylvania 5:54.681
2. Georgetown 5:56.287
3. Oregon State 5:59.780
4. Dartmouth 6:02.073
5. Holy Cross 6:05.825
6. UCSD 6:11.216

Second Varsity Eight (Semifinal #1)
1. Washington 5:50.272
2. Princeton 5:52.396
3. Northeastern 5:52.645
4. Wisconsin 5:53.332
5. Pennsylvania 6:05.170
6. Syracuse 6:06.893

Varsity Fours (Semifinal #1)
1. Washington 6:25.831
2. Brown 6:27.627
3. Wisconsin 6:29.341
4. FIT 6:30.423
5. Yale 6:37.143
6. Pennsylvania 6:44.288

Open Fours (Semifinal #2)
1. California 6:32.618
2. Northeastern 6:33.470
3. Oregon State 6:42.915
4. Syracuse 6:44.261
5. Pennsylvania 6:44.735
6. Holy Cross 6:59.270