Chattanooga, Tenn. -- This past weekend, the Stetson rowing team competed in the Head of the Hooch Regatta on the Tennessee River along with nearly 5,000 rowers from all around the country.
"The Head of the Hooch is one of the country’s premier regattas and always draws a large group of competitive rowers from colleges, clubs and high school teams," Stetson head coach Mark Wilson said.
Wilson, who is in his first year at Stetson, said he was excited to bring his new team to the regatta but due to sickness and a non-rowing injury some of the athletes were forced to stay in DeLand. Even with some last minute lineup changes, and a less than optimal amount of practice, the crew team headed off to Chattanooga.
The Hatters opened the event on Saturday with two teams competing in an open mixed doubles race. Erin Lee and David Crosby finished a very respectable ninth place and new sculler Alicia Duda and partner Mike Sigrist finished close behind in 11th. The first and second place teams were former national champions in this event.
The highly competitive Women’s Championship Four featured several top NCAA programs including Duke, Kansas, Texas, Oklahoma, UCF, and Tennessee. Wilson said the Stetson team of Bria Parrish, Pricilla White, Nikki Caberallo, Duda, and Lee had trouble getting into a rhythm and placed 34th out of 36 with a time of 21:50.
"I would like to see us spend more time working on our timing and even pressure from all the rowers to make ourselves more competitive," Wilson said. “We were rowing basically a lightweight boat this weekend against some very competitive programs.”
On Sunday, the Hatter men's and women's squads raced pairs for the first time in head races. Crosby and Sigrist rowed the men's pair while White and Caberallo competed for the women.
“I was really proud of these two boats,” Wilson said. “They just jumped into the pairs and took off. I was really happy about the 'can-do' spirit that the rowers showed."
The team highlight came with the sole medal for the Hatters when sophomore sculler Pricilla White cruised to a third place finish in the lightweight single event.
“This was a really great performance from Pricilla and I hope that her efforts continue to be motivation for her teammates," Wilson said.
Stetson will compete at the Fall FIRA Classic in Melbourne on November 10th.