WORCESTER, Mass. - For the first time since 2005 season, the University of Pennsylvania men's lightweight rowing team made the Varsity Grand Final and finished sixth overall at the EARC Sprints Sunday on Lake Quinsigamond its highest finish since that same season. The effort also qualified the Quakers for the IRA Regatta for the first time in three years.
In a close race, the Quakers varsity boat finished third in its heat to qualify for the Grand Final. Just three seconds seperated first place from fourth place as Penn topped Georgetown by less than a half second to secure its spot among the coveted top three finishers in the heat. Penn finished in 5:47.993 to automatically qualify for the Grand Final over Georgetown and its finish of 5:48.364. Then, in the final, the varsity placed sixth in the final race of the regatta. The Red and Blue were consistent, completing the course in 5:48.334. By finishing in the top seven at EARC Sprints, the Quakers are eligible to row at the IRA Championships.
The second varsity also made the Grand Final. The Quakers pulled ahead of Columbia in the heat to finish third and qualify for the first final with their time of 6:00.500. The second varsity then duplicated the feat of the varsity boat with a sixth-place finish in the EARC final. The team rowed through the Lake Quinsigamond course in 6:01.508.
The freshmen finished fourth in their heat with a time of 6:10.141, topping a Georgetown that had beaten them earlier this season. In the petite final, however, the Hoyas struck back. Georgetown won the final with a time of 5:55.278. It was another close race between the two as Penn finished less than a second later at 5:56.429.
In the third varsity final, the Quakers finished sixth once again. They were several seats behind fifth-place Princeton's time of 6:00.424, placing two seconds behind at 6:02.624. However, they were well ahead of Georgetown, leaving open water between the Hoyas' finish of 6:08.456.
With their performance on Sunday, the Quakers have qualified for the IRA Championships on the Cooper River in Camden, N.J. The regatta runs from June 3-5.