Second Varsity to Petite FInal at IRAs


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CHERRY HILL, N.J. - The second varsity eight finished sixth of seven it its semifinal at the 2011 IRA Championships, but will race in the Petite Final on Saturday.

All five crews qhich qualified for IRAs will race once more on Saturday, with the varsity in the Third Final, the novice boat in the Third Final, the open four in the Petite Final and the varsity four in the Third Final.

On Day One of the 2011 IRA Championships, Penn's five boats competing in the heavyweight races each took to the Cooper River. While the Varsity Eight was less than a second away from qualifying for the Petite Final, the Second Varsity bounced back in its repechage race to earn a spot in Friday's semifinals.

For the varsity, a fast heat saw the Quakers finish fourth out of six teams in a time of 5:42.467. Harvard won the heat in a time of 5:33.357 with Princeton and Yale also ahead of the Red and Blue. Penn had distance on fifth-place Dartmouth in the race, beating the Big Green to the line by 3.6 seconds with Columbia sixth in 5:46.359. In the repechage, Penn was embroiled in a battle with Stanford, Navy and Georgetown with all four crews within 1.4 seconds of each other at the finish. However, the Quakers were fourth of that group, crossing in 5:39.405 to Stanford's winning time of 5:38.000. If the Red and Blue had been able to catch Georgetown, which finished in 5:38.790, Penn would have advanced to the Petite Final on Saturday. Instead, the Quakers will enter the Third Final as the second seed.

For the second varsity, the repechage offered a chance at redemption. Penn was left behind in its heat, finishing fifth of five boats in the morning, crossing in 6:00.619. In the afternoon, the second varsity shaved almost 16 seconds off its time, finishing first in its race in 5:44.777 - almost 1.6 seconds ahead of second-place Navy. The win in the repechage advanced the second varsity to the semifinals which take place on Friday morning.

The freshman eight finished fifth of six boats in its morning heat, needing 6:03.343 to complete the course and crossing behind powerful Princeton, Washington and Wisconsin crews among the entrants. In the repechage, the crew shaved time from the morning posting, crossing in 6:01.784, but finished sixth of six entries in what was a very fast race with the top three crews finishing in under 5:48. The novice team will compete in the Third Final on Saturday.

In fours, the Varsity Four was third of five in its morning heat, out-stroking Boston University by a slim margin. Penn's boat was .093 faster than the Terriers, crossing in 6:29.300. The third-place finish did not qualify a spot in the semifinal, though, and in the repechages, Penn was sixth to move to the Third Final on Saturday.

The Open Four was fifth of five in its heat, needing 6:44.627 to cross the finish line and will move on to the repechages.

Rowing begins again on Friday at 8:30 a.m. and Penn's first race will be Second Varsity's semifinals at 11:45.