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Jacksonville, FL -- The Stetson Hatters rowing team took to the water for the first time on Saturday with a complement of boats under new Coach Mark Wilson’s direction.

The Hatters competed in the First Coast Head Race.

“The races were a good opportunity to see the team in a competitive situation with no pressure," Wilson said. "Practice for the season started a short three weeks ago with on Lake Beresford and the team was eager to travel and compete."  

The races in Jacksonville covered a distance of five kilometers against a flowing tide, which made the times seem longer for most of the races. 

The day started off well for the Hatters with sculler Pricilla White in the Championship 1x winning her event by posting the fastest female time (21:57) of the day.  

The Hatters rowed against some very good Division II competition from Nova Southeastern in the  Women’s Championship 8. The Hatters finished sixth with a time of 23:37, 3:33 behind the 20:04 winning time.  

“I would have liked to see the women be a little closer to the winning time, but I set no formal expectations on the ladies and just wanted to see them compete," Wilson said.

The Stetson men's team rowed a solid race against three Jacksonville University boats and finished third with a time of 23 flat. The winning boat from JU finished in 20:27.  

The Women’s Four rowed in a strong event with strong squads from Nova Southeastern and JU finishing in front of the Lady Hatters.  The four of White, Chloe Blackletter, Bria Parrish and Alicja Duda finished sixth in a time of 24:47 with Nova A winning in a time of 21:48.

“I was happy with this four because they just jumped in and raced, with only a single row as practice before the race,” Wilson said.

The Hatters also competed in the Mixed 8 event.

Overall, Wilson said he will use the results from this event to help set the workouts and practices for the rest of the fall season.  

"Conditioning and technical rows will dominate our training time as we move forward with “One Stroke at a Time” motto for the season," Wilson said.

White and Wilson will both compete on October 21 in Boston at the Head of the Charles. White will compete in the Lightweight 1x and Wilson in the Masters 2x.

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