Lightweights Set for Saturday's IRA Championship Race

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PHILADELPHIA - For the first time in three years, the University of Pennsylvania men's lightweight rowing team will compete at the national championships. The varsity boat for the Quakers will race Saturday at the IRA Regatta on the Cooper River in Camden, N.J.

A live webcast is available at the link above, and to listen to the championships over the phone, dial (605) 715-4900 and enter passcode 698020 (followed by the # key) at the prompt.

Penn will race at 11:45 a.m. Saturday against Princeton, Harvard, Yale, Dartmouth, Navy and Georgetown. The Quakers have split two races with Georgetown this season and have been narrowly defeated by Dartmouth and Navy on two occassions. Princeton and Harvard each won the previous meetings this season with the Red and Blue, and finished first and second, respectively at the Eastern Sprints.

"We are really excited about the opportunity to race for a national championship," head coach Nick Baker said. "From first to last, Saturday's race will be very close, and our guys are optimistic about putting together their best performance. We know we can't control the speed of the competition, so at the end of the day, we just want to concentrate on racing to our full potential."

The Quakers qualified for the IRA regatta with a sixth-place finish at the Eastern Sprints on May 16. In a close race, the Quakers varsity boat finished third in its heat to qualify for the Grand Final for the first time since 2005. 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's finish of 5:48.364. Then, in the Grand 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.

This is the first appearance for Penn at the championship regatta since 2007. That year, the Quakers varsity boat finished eighth overall, taking second place in the Petite Final. Penn's last top-five finish at this regatta came in 2005 when the Red and Blue finished third with an impressive finish of 5:44.71.

Penn's tentative lineup can be found below, while a complete recap and results of the regatta will be available shortly after its conclusion on For a full schedule of the races this weekend, click the link atop this release.

Tentative Lineup:
Cox: Jason Bernstein
Stroke: Mike Fisher
7: Oliver Hurd
6: Hurst Nuckols
5: Nate Keane
4: Peter Ciullo
3: Adam Funk
2: Andrew Voss
1: Andrew McGrath