PHILADELPHIA - Two members of the University of Pennsylvania lightweights were named to Team USA on Thursday to compete at the Under-23 World Championships in Plovdiv, Bulgaria, July 22-26. Rising juniors Jake Ford and Sam Ward will represent the Quakers and their country as members of the lightweight men's 4- boat, which will be led by Penn head coach Colin Farrell, who is coaching the national team for the sixth straight year.
“Jake and Sam should certainly be proud to make the Under-23 squad," Farrell said of the Penn pair. "There’s nothing like the opportunity to represent your country. The team and I are proud of them, excited to see what they can do in Plovdiv, and eager for them to bring all they’ve learned back to Philadelphia."
Ford and Ward were each members of Penn's varsity boat throughout the 2014-15 season. The lightweights recently posted their best finish at the IRA National Championships in a decade and reached the Grand Final for just the second time since 1997 en route to a sixth-place showing.
Farrell, who just completed his first season at the helm of the Quakers, has coached the national team in each of the previous five years.Most recently, he led the lightweight fours to a win in the B Final at the 2014 U-23 World Championships in Varese, Italy.
“For me, coaching the Under-23’s has been a chance to give back to the National Team and help the next generation of lightweights come up through the ranks," Farrell said. "From Penn’s perspective, it's a great opportunity for me to stay in touch with the next level of rowing. The Under-23 World Championships has the best college-age athletes from around the world. That’s the standard that we’re working to climb towards here, so this is more fuel for that fire.”
Farrell, Ford and Ward will spend a little more than a week in Europe. You can follow the trio's exploits on twitter (@pennlwt) and PennAthletics.com will have a full recap following the competition.