The Stetson rowing team traveled to Mercer County, N.J. this past weekend for its first appearance in the MAAC Championships along with Sacred Heart, Canisius, Fairfield, Iona, Marist, Drake and Jacksonville. The eight teams enjoyed a nearly perfect weekend of racing on the 2000m course in Mercer County Park near Princeton, N.J. The weather had been on everyone's mind during the week leading up to the day of racing. Even at the banquet on Friday, there were three weather contingencies discussed. Thankfully, none of them were needed as the day started with very light breezes and sunny skies. The racing started on schedule and finished on schedule with Jacksonville University emerging as the new MAAC Champions and NCAA qualifier.
Stetson raced in the Women's Varsity 4 where they qualified in their heat to the Grand Final. The team raced well in the heat and felt really good about the opportunity to race in the Grand Final. Two hours later the four went to the line and faced Fairfield, Marist, Robert Morris, Jacksonville and Canisius. The Hatters had a strong race but finished sixth in the final with a time of 8:31.23.
The second Women's Varsity 8 was stacked up against some really good competition and raced in a strong heat after being seeded last in the event. The team came in last in the heat against Jacksonville, Marist and Drake, but returned to the Petite Final later in the afternoon. They raced well and finished first in the Petite Final with a time of 8:12.34 to finish seventh in the regatta.
The first Women's Varsity 8 raced in their heat to a third place spot finishing ahead of Drake, whom they lost too earlier in the season and behind Jacksonville and Fairfield. The team finished sixth in the Grand Final with a time of 7:23.80 after starting a little flat and not being able to really capitalize on the opportunity to compete with the rest of the field.
The day of racing was a valuable experience for all the Hatters and seeing the other teams of the conference for the first time was also very important for the team. The team finished seventh out of eight and only missed the next spot by five points.
"I am very happy for the team and know that we will continue to grow and become more competitive over the next two years," Stetson head coach Mark Wilson said. "Stetson has all the potential and is perfectly suited for the MAAC and the team will become more fit and grow in size to help grow internal competitiveness. This is a very exciting time for Stetson Rowing and the team will continue to compete in the conference for years to come."