The Falcon | Volume 83, Issue 53
SPU boats face stiff competition at Dad Vail Regatta
By JON HEDDLES,
Published: May 16 2012
After a whirlwind season of challenges and pleasant surprises, the Seattle Pacific men’s and women’s crew teams wrapped up their 2012 racing schedule at the Aberdeen Dad Vail Regatta in Philadelphia over the weekend. The trip served as quite the reward for the journey the Falcon crew teams have undergone since early winter.
“[Philadelphia] was an amazing experience,” said freshman Emerson Morris, a men’s novice-four rower. “We’ve been going to regattas for a while now, but this was just on a whole other level.”
The 74th annual event took place on Philadelphia’s Schuylkill River, and featured over 120 crew programs from across the country and at all levels. SPU was represented in the water by their men’s novice-four boat and women’s varsity-four and -eight boats.
The men’s novice-four came into the weekend having never finished below second place in a race all season along. It competed first in the preliminary heat on Friday, when it came in second. From there, it advanced to the semifinals Saturday morning, in which it qualified for the final.
“Their first two races were spectacular,” head coach Keith Jefferson said. “They were leading the whole time in the semifinal, but caught a couple crabs and lost by just half a second. They looked really good out there though.”
The novice-four’s semifinal result put it in the grand final Saturday afternoon. The Falcons boat (comprising Morris, freshman Daniel Mudge, sophomore Matt Edel, junior Thomas Taylor and senior coxswain Mackenzie Oscar) fell behind early and came in last in the heat. Overall for the event, they placed sixth out of 43 teams.
“The grand final race was pretty difficult for us,” Morris said. “It was hard to stay motivated once we got pretty far behind. I’m a little disappointed, but considering the caliber of the schools we were facing, I’m very content.”
The women’s varsity-four finished in third place in Friday’s preliminary heat to solidify a spot in the semifinals. Competing against much bigger and upper-tier crews, they managed a fifth-place final in Saturday morning’s semifinal heat.
“They did spectacularly to qualify for the semi,” Jefferson said. “They rowed better in the semifinal, but at that point they were outgunned. It was a noble effort on their part, so I was very pleased.”
The women’s varsity-eight squad traveled to Philadelphia in hopes of rowing well enough to earn an at-large bid for the NCAA Division II championships but were unable to qualify.
SPU’s No. 7-ranked women (made up of seniors coxswain Annie Mulder, Katy Stine and Jacky Neumiller, junior Samantha Storz, sophomores Kindra Fish, Baylee O’Camb, Rachel Murphy and Emily Scrabeck — also a Falcon layout editor — and freshman Katarina Krueger) instead raced in the petite final Saturday, which it won handily. However, on Monday, SPU discovered it wasn’t one of the eight teams selected for the National Championships.
Monday’s news officially signified the end of SPU’s crew season.
The news did not dampen Jefferson’s opinion of his team.
“I sent them a note telling them I was very proud of everything they’ve achieved, especially with such great obstacles,” Jefferson said. “I’m most proud of the perseverance that both these men and women have shown all season long. This is a very hard sport.”
Morris decided to give rowing a shot for the first time at the beginning of the year and is glad he made the sacrifices necessary to be a part of the team.
“It’s been very eye-opening to experience a sport I had no knowledge of before,” Morris said. “To be a part of a group of people and go through this really, challenging routine day in and day out has been very fulfilling. I’m really glad I stuck with it, and it definitely paid off in the end. The Philadelphia trip was a perfect pinnacle to the season, and overall, crew has really just helped me grow in character and discipline.
“Now that the season’s over, I just have a really great sense of accomplishment.”
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