PHILADELPHIA - Less than 24 hours after qualifying for the IRA national championships,the University of Pennsylvania lightweights gathered to honor the seniors and annual award winners at the team banquet on Monday.
First-year head coachColin Farrellcreated several team awards to be handed out on an annual basis, and continued the tradition of others.
"This was something that I wanted to establish," Farrell said. "We may expand the awards in the following years, but I think this was a good start. There are always those team members who leave a mark on those around them, and it is a special opportunity to recognize these individuals. There were a lot of positive steps taken this year, and it is important to acknowledge the work that went into it."
Junior Mike Donahueearned the Coach's Award, which is to be presented to the member of the lightweight crew who has made a significant contribution to the success of the team as chosen by the current coach.
SophomoreJeff Wangwas presented the Captains' Awardwhich is given by the captains of the lightweight crew to a team member who demonstrates extraordinary commitment to the team and an unending effort to improve him or herself and the team.
The Hammer was presented to sophomoreJake Ford.
The Leonard-Bryfogle Awardwas handed down from former lightweight coach, Bruce Konopka. It is a piece of metal that fell (was thrown!?) off of the Girard Avenue Bridge in 1976, sunk a boat, and was kept and made into an award. It is given to the member of the lightweight crew who wreaks the most havoc in any given year. This season, freshmanMiguel Zaldivar-Giuffrediearned the recognition.
The five graduating seniors -- Alex Cosio, Mark Dignam, Parker Lange, Adam Millar and Dan Schwarz -- attended commencement at Franklin Field and then joined the lightweight festivities where they were also honored for their four years of service to the program.
"As I told them on Sunday, my only disappointment in year one as head coach is that these five will not be here to see year two," Farrell said of his seniors.
In Farrell's first season as head coach, the lightweights claimed the Callow Cup from Navy for just the second time in the last 15 years, and advanced to the IRA national championship regatta for the second time in three seasons -- the program's best stretch since a three-year run from 2005-07.
The IRA regatta is set for Sunday, May 31 on Mercer Lake in New Jersey.