The Stetson men's and women's rowing teams arrived at the Nathan Benderson Rowing and Aquatic Center Friday with a threat of storms in the forecast, but nothing upset the great mood and energy resounding from the teams as they readied themselves for the first day of racing at the FIRA Championships.
With 12 boats entered and despite two events scratched from the list, the Hatters had nearly 40 rowers racing in 10 different events.
Included among the Hatter teams were Jack Ulriksin in the Men’s 1x and the Novice Women’s 8 of Tabitha Petri, Shelby Curren, Kaytlynn Sorensen, Amber Quigley, Trixi Menge, Adrienne Devita, Sheree Carter, Savanna Wharton-Lake and coxswain Mike Austin.
"The teams are really looking good and I am excited for a fun weekend," Stetson head coach Mark Wilson said.
Stetson got off to an unlucky start in the Women’s Varsity 8 (Cathleen Vogelsgang, Shannon McCarthy, Julia Pearce, Chloe Blackletter, Bria Parrish, Molly Winston, Deonna Graham, Alicja Duda, and Erin Lee as coxswain) with a race in 15-20 mph head winds. The first start was called back due to other crews colliding with each other within the first 100m.
“This is an officials call to provide a safe and fair race but it was unfortunate as we were off the line clean and moving well in second place after 100m,” Wilson said.
The second start was not as good for the Hatters and they competed well for the first 500m but never got into a rhythm of pushing into the wind and faded by the 1500m mark. The boat finished last of six with only four crews moving on to the finals.
The Novice Men’s Four of David Crosby, Jackson Reddick, David Nutting, Konnor Kreiger and coxswain Katie Shilling failed to show up to the start of their race and were disqualified.
“This is really not acceptable but I hope that it sends a message to the team and they respond positively in the Men’s Novice 8 race on Saturday," assistant coach James Dietz said.
The final race of the day for the regatta saw the Stetson Women's Varsity 4 team follow a solid race plan and kept hope alive by finishing in a solid fourth place to move on to the finals on Saturday afternoon. The boat of Vogelsgang, McCarthy, Pearce, Blackletter and coxswain Lee were very happy with the results and they will see strong competition from Nova Southeastern, FIT and Rollins in Saturday's final.
The Hatters were also extreamly important to the race from a volunteer standpoint. The entire starting line was covered with green as every stake boat person was a Hatter.
“I was so proud to see my novice women’s boat who did not race in heats get into the action and help the regatta run smoothly,” Wilson said proudly.
Racing resumes Saturday with finals in the Women’s 2x, Men’s 2-, Men’s 1x, Novice Women’s 8, Men’s Novice 8, Women’s JV 4, and Women’s Varsity 4A and 4B.