The Stetson Women's Lightweight 4+ and Men's Open 2- rowing teams will be competing at the 75th Aberdeen Dad Vail Regatta this weekend on the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia, Pa.
"These two boats have been solid competitors all spring and they have been working very hard to gain more fitness and more finesse in their boats," Stetson head coach Mark Wilson said.
Championship season is in full swing and May is Championship Month for rowing. Currently conference and regional championships are mostly over and for the Hatters the Dad Vail Regatta is a chance to compete on a national stage. Many other Division I programs will be vying for 16 slots in the NCAA Championship but for the Hatters that will not be a reality until next year.
“This year has been a great year for the Hatters with lots of new focus and renewed dedication to work," Wilson said. "Some athletes have accepted the challenges and others have not, which is fine. These athletes have certainly risen and are very excited to be still racing this spring. Rowing is a sport that demands a lot out of individuals and out of friendships and I am really proud of the entire team."
The Varsity Lightweight 4+ comprised of Dee Grahame, Alicja Duda, Tori Teter, Kiara Urena and Cox Madeline Briggs has been a great example of dedication to each other. The five team-members came together in early March when others on the squad opted to leave and they have not looked back.
“We have a great group of very motivated young women in this boat and I am so very proud of them," Wilson said. "They respect, support, and would do nearly anything for each other.”
Earlier in the season the Lightweight 4+ raced visiting teams from the north and were competitive but not really fast. At the FIRA state championships the event was cut, forcing them to row as a Varsity 4+ second team. However, at SIRA they came out charging and finished a respectable third place and earned a bronze medal. They are racing this weekend against some very quick teams. The field of Light 4+’s includes: Brock, Bryant, Bucknell, Florida, Fordham, Lafayette College Crew Club, Liberty, MIT, Middlebury College, Oklahoma City, Penn State, Pitt, Stetson, SUNY Geneseo, Temple, and Tulsa.
“I expect this to be a very fast event and will be very pleased to have the women finish in the top 12,” Wilson said. “Many teams have a lightweight component and these are all great schools, so all the women can do is continue to be positive, sit tall, and race strong.”
The Men’s Pair of David Nutting and Michael Sigrist have rowed together more this season than any other pair in the field of 36 boats.
“I have seen these men go really fast and they row well so we will just hope they have a good heat draw and can get through the preliminary races clean and quick," Wilson said. "The focus is to go in to each race like it is their last and race to move on to the finals. David and Mike are two hard working guys but they will be racing much heavier teams, so they will have to row really well and clean to make it to the finals. I have confidence that if they row their absolute best, good things can happen."
The team departed DeLand Wednesday morning and will begin racing on Friday morning. Schedules and results are posted at www.regattacentral.com and the event website is www.dadvail.org