Looking To Revive Some Winning Ways

For the past two seasons lightweight crew has had the same goal–return the success and tradition of the past to the varsity team. The goal for 2004-05 has not changed as the Quakers hope to take one step closer to reviving the winning tradition.

Under the direction of third-year head coach Mike Irwin, Penn will continue to make steady progress as it vies for a top spot in the Ivy League. To do so, the Red and Blue will rely heavily on senior leadership and the talented sophomore class who tore up the waters as rookies.

“We definitely want to build on the successes that the freshmen had last season and carry that to the varsity level,” freshman coach John Fife said.

The lightweight squad will be led by 10 seniors including captain Dave Read and Mike King, who was chosen commodore for the second-straight season. Both seniors carry with them two years of varsity experience along with fellow seniors Jason Brooks, Joe McQuaid, and Sean Cronin. Last season, this group was instrumental in helping the Red and Blue earn an 11th-place finish at the Eastern Sprints.

“We expect those guys to really guide the team and hold them to Coach Irwin’s standards and expectations through leading by example,” Fife said.

Irwin and his coaching staff will rely on the strong bond between the senior class that has been forged since their freshman season when they earned five wins and a trip to the Eastern Sprints finals. As upperclassmen they have been a major asset to the rowing program by channelling their strong chemistry and desire to excel to the entire team.

Big things are expected from the small junior class. With just four members – Tim Mahoney, Sam McCallum, Greg Patcella and coxswain Lauren Pinsker – the cohesive unit is expected to step up and help guide the team.

“Although small, they are a very strong and determined group,” Fife said. “They possess a tremendous work ethic that is a valuable asset to the team.”

Perhaps a very important component of the program is the 11-member sophomore class. As freshmen, the group had a successful season going 7-2 overall and cruising to a fourth-place finish at the Eastern Sprints, less than a tenth of a second out of medal contention.

“The sophomores are an extremely determined group of young men whose energy is a breath of fresh air in the Penn boathouse,” Fife said. “We are looking forward to watching them carry it over to the varsity.”

Penn will also welcome eight newcomers as the Class of 2008 will hit the water for the first time. As student-athletes from some of the top high schools and club programs in the country head to Philadelphia, Fife is looking forward to working with the rookies.

“I anticipate that this class will build on the energy and success of the Class of 2007,” Fife said.

With increased depth and no shortage of talent, there are no limits for the lightweight squad as they attempt to make an impact on the Ivy League this season.