Lightweights Qualify for IRA's, Freshmen Medal


WORCESTER, Mass. - A first-place finish in the Petite final clinched a spot at the national championships for the varsity 8 and the University of Pennyslvania lightweights earned the program's first freshman medal since 1990 on Sunday at the 2013 Eastern Sprints.

The varsity finished fourth in its heat with a time of 6:38.235. That put the Quakers in the petite final with M.I.T., Georgetown and Navy, who finished six seconds behind the Red and Blue in their heat. Penn needed a victory to qualify for the IRA regatta for the first time since 2010. And the varsity crew came through. The Quakers won in convincing fashion with a time of 6:22.180. The Hoyas were the next closest boat - five seconds behind. The win earned Penn seventh place overall and the program's first trip to the national championship regatta in three years.

The freshmen cruised to a victory in their heat on Sunday morning. Their time of 6:26.444 topped Princeton and Harvard by several seats and was 20 seconds better than Navy. In the Grand Final, the Quakers fell behind and were unable to keep pace with Ivy rivals Yale and Cornell. The Bulldogs won at 6:23.968 which was 10 seconds better than the Red and Blue, who finished with the bronze medal - Penn's first freshman medal in 23 years when the Quakers finished second.

The second varsity was fouth in its heat with a time of 6:44.710. That topped Dartmouth by more than 10 seconds and placed the Quakers in the petite final. Penn jumped in front of Dartmouth and Georgetown and kept both those boats behind them. However, M.I.T. won the final and Penn placed second to finish eighth overall.

The Red and Blue also had a boat in the third varsity fours race. Penn placed third overall behind Cornell and Navy with a finish of 7:36.963.

The 2013 IRA Championships are set for Sunday, June 2 in Sacramento, Calif.