Heavyweight Rowing to Compete at IRAs This Weekend

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PHILADELPHIA – Penn’s heavyweight rowing program caps its 2014 season at the IRA National Championship Regatta this weekend, competing May 30-June 1 on Lake Mercer in New Jersey. The Quakers will row five boats in the national championships, looking to improve upon a 13th place finish in the Varsity Eight in 2013.

The Red and Blue have won nine IRA championships in the Varsity Eight all-time, last doing so in 1992. Head coach Greg Myhr will be leading his fifth IRA Regatta contingent as skipper of the Quakers. After matching 16th place finishes in 2010 and 2011, his crew took 11th in 2012 – Penn’s highest finish since a ninth-place row in 2001.

The Varsity Eight is seeded 14th overall out of 24 boats entered this weekend and will row its heat at 8:15 on Friday morning. The Quakers are set to row with No. 3 Harvard, No. 6 Northeastern, No. 11 Columbia, No. 19 Hobart and No. 22 Drexel, with two automatic spots in the semifinals at stake. Penn’s biggest win of the season came over Northeastern in March, defeating the then-No. 2 Huskies by 2.4 seconds in the Burk Cup. The Quakers will also have to overcome a Lions crew which they have seen four previous times this spring. Penn has only finished ahead of the Lions once in 2014, but IRAs would be an opportune time to add a second. Two weeks ago at Sprints, Columbia had the better of Penn in both the heat and the Petite Final – both times with Penn pushing the issue early and just unable to hold pace late.

Penn’s Second Varsity is seeded No. 15 out of 24 boats at IRAs and will compete with No. 2 Washington, No. 7 Harvard, No. 10 Cornell, No. 18 Stanford and No. 23 Gonzaga. Last year, the 2V was 12th overall after a sixth-place row in the Petite Final.

The Third Varsity is the No. 14 seed out of 18 boats this weekend, and will row in a heat with No. 2 Brown, No. 5 Boston University, No. 8 Cornell, No. 11 Dartmouth and No. 17 Drexel on Friday morning. The lineup is an unfamiliar one for Penn, with only a race against the Dragons on the spring’s first weekend (a 14.5-second win) and a loss to Cornell last weekend (a loss) marking races against teams Penn will see in its heat.

Last season, Penn’s Frosh Eight reached the Grand Final and finished sixth overall. According to the seeds, the Quakers will have some work to do to replicate that finish. Penn enters the Frosh Eight regatta seeded No. 9 out of 12 boats. Its heat will feature No. 1 Washington, No. 4 Harvard, No. 5 Cornell and No. 8 Navy. At Sprint two weeks ago, Penn was just a half-second behind Navy in the Petite Final, making up over nine seconds from the previous race with the Midshipmen in April.

The Quakers will also row a Varsity Four at IRAs, rowing with Loyola, Georgetown, George Washington, Wisconsin and Northeastern in the heats. Overall, 12 boats are entered in the Varsity Four, with no preseeding.

Friday’s action consists of the heats and the repechages. On Saturday, advancing crews will row in the semifinals, followed by Sunday’s championship finals.

Friday Schedule for Penn
8:15 a.m. – Varsity Eight Heat
9:45 a.m. – Second Varsity Eight Heat
10:15 a.m. – Frosh Eight Heat
11:00 a.m. – Third Varsity Eight Heat
11:30 a.m. – Varsity Four Heat
2:00 p.m. – Repechage Races Start (Specific times TBD)

Penn BoatingsVarsity Eight
Cox: Louis Lombardi
Stroke: Conor Davenport
7: Kevin McHale
6: Dara Alizadeh
5: Joseph Simon
4: Peter St. Michael
3: Zachary Bandes
2: Harry Holroyd
Bow: Robert Wallace

Second Varsity Eight
Cox: Jacob Mendelson
Stroke: Richard Censits
7: Matt Slodden
6: Chris Matyjek
5: Jeffrey Schimmel
4: Jonathan Hennessy
3: Joseph Mack
2: Matthew Wagener
Bow: Eric Sezgen

Third Varsity Eight
Cox: Eric Kim
Stroke: Alexander Buck
7: Samuel Shepherd
6: Alex Schade
5: Kevin Kelly
4: Jakub Dziedzic
3: Colin Kane
2: Jeremy Wright
Bow: Chet Heldman

Frosh Eight
Cox: Lauren Hochman
Stroke: Michael Rudow
7: Daniel Kennedy-Moore
6: Sean Forester
5: Sean O'Dowd
4: Sean Hartman
3: Harrison Thayer
2: Elliot Bok
Bow: Frederick LaViolette

Varsity Four
Cox: Matt Harris
Stroke: Leonard Kaminski
3: Diego Fiori
2: Bradford Taylor
Bow: Cole Speidel