Lightweights Can't Hold Off Defending Champs in Harsh Conditions


PHILADELPHIA - Forced into single-file time trials due to the harsh conditions on the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia, the University of Pennsylvania men's lightweight rowing team couldn't overcome the two-time defending national champion Cornell Big Red and the Harvard Crimson on Saturday morning.

With the weather making the river unfit for racing, the three Ivy teams took turns racing the 2,000-meter course from the finish line to the starting line, going upriver on the west side of the Schuylkill.

Cornell won the first of the time trials with the 3rd Varsity 8 finishing in 6:52.9, while the Quakers came in at 7:19.8. The Big Red would later capture the Matthews-Leonard cup, finishing ahead of Penn in the Varsity 8. The Red and Blue crew of Molly Mitchell (c), Nate Keane, Newton Sears, Paul Shay, Peter Ciullo, Ryan Taras, Dave Mannion, Andy Macalaster and Kellen Coppola, were eight seconds of the pace of the 2007 and 2008 National Champions, finishing in 6:39.0. It was the best time of the day for any Penn boat.

Penn's first freshman boat also came in under the seven-minute mark. The group of Dominic Nucci (c), Hurst Nuckols, Andrew McGrath, Mike Fisher, Adam Funk, Jamie Napoli, Oliver Hurd, Mylo Cheng and Ollin Venegas finished in 6:49.5.

Penn's second varsity and second freshman boats each placed third. The second varsity crossed the finish line in exactly seven minutes, while the second freshman came in at 7:33.8.

The Philadelphia area had its share of wet and windy weather in the days leading up to the first EARC regatta of the year between Penn, Harvard and Cornell. There were periods of heavy rain throughout the day on Friday and a strong wind through the night that continued into the morning of the regatta. The strong current from the rain and the 40-plus mile per hour gusts of wind made the river conditions unsafe for racing.

Up next for the lightweights is a trip to New York City where the Quakers will match-up with two more Ivy opponents in Columbia and Yale.