The Drexel crew team followed up its impressive performance at the Navy Day Regatta with an exciting effort Oct. 20 at the Head of the Charles Regatta in Boston. The Dragons ended with three historic finishes, all of which were the best in school history.
The men’s varsity eight took first place and earned Drexel’s first-ever gold medal at the Head of the Charles. The women’s second varsity eight earned a sixth-place finish, which was their best-ever finish at the event.
The men’s varsity eight posted a time of 15:22.279 to top the other 39 crews that competed in the event. The gold medal-winning Lois Krall shell was coxed by Marc Smith and featured stroke Mikulus Sum, Ivo Krakic, Sebastian Ryan, Nicholas Capaldi, Ian Luetzow, John Pieper, Daniel Palombo and bow Dave Hanrahan. The University of Michigan finished in second place, followed by the University of Virginia in third.
Director of Rowing and head men’s and women’s coach Paul Savell said he was extremely proud of how the men’s varsity eight competed and believes the win is something they will always treasure.
“There are very few rowers that have a gold medal from the Head of the Charles,” he said. “It is an extremely prestigious race with teams from around the world coming to Boston to race. I’m sure these guys will cherish this victory.”
The women’s second varsity had the Dragons’ second-best finish, stopping the clock at 17:30.567 for sixth place out of 29 competing crews. The Maria Papadakis boat featured coxswain Sarah Messenger; strokes Tori King, Emily Gartland, Barbara McKenna, Colleen Delaney, Amanda O’Malley, Alyssa Leahy and Stephanie Thomas; and bow Julie McGlynn.
The women’s varsity eight also finished strong despite missing out on finishing in the top half of their field. The Marlene Buckley II shell crossed the finish line in 18:02.131, placing 24th out of 39 crews. The team was guided by Kerry Walsh and featured stroke Olivia Babiec, Bridget Pfeifer, Kayla Wroblesky, Elizabeth Daugherty, Marina Forster, Samantha Cowan, Amanda Kleuser and bow Elise Levito.
“This was a great performance from all three boats in Boston,” Savell said of his team’s performance at the Head of the Charles. “The women’s second varsity eight’s sixth-place performance was the best in school history and guaranteed a spot for next year. The women’s varsity eight also finished higher than we have ever placed before. The top three places in their race were from Great Britain and USA’s national team. It is extremely tough competition.”
Former members of the Drexel crew team also competed in an alumni eight event, finishing in 37th place. Assistant coach David Florio guided the boat, which featured stroke Doug Allcorn, Liam O’Neill, Michael Golden, Brian Timlin, Mike Gartland, Anthony Fittipaldi, Gregg Francis and bow Michael Niles.
The Dragons will be back in action Oct. 26, when they will compete in the Head of the Schuylkill Regatta. Savell believes his teams have performed at a very high level this year, and the Dragons will look to continue their success moving forward.
“We were very happy with their races at this point in the year and are now looking to keep the momentum into this weekend at the Head of the Schuylkill,” he said.