For the third year in a row, the Bison returned to Lake Anna State Park for their spring break training camp. Lake Anna is nestled in the rolling hills of Northeast Virginia, just past Spotsylvania. Normally Lake Anna has miles of protected water, with temperatures in March ranging from slightly chilly to pleasantly mild. The 2017 edition proved to be slightly different. Temperatures hovered in the mid 30’s with winds gusting up to 20 miles per hour. Forced with the prospect of rough weather conditions all week, the Bison hunkered down and got on with it. The training went to good use, as the team finished the week with a scrimmage against the University of Virginia, Hobart College, and the Naval Academy Lightweights. Racing under warm, sunny skies (a nice change of pace) the Bucknell men performed well. Each crew raced three 1000 meter pieces, and two 500 meter pieces in what was a very competitive affair. The Naval Academy Lightweights proved to be the fastest crew on the day across all events, with Hobart trailing slightly behind them. Bucknell and Virginia were locked in tight battles, just behind Hobart. Bucknell rowed a Varsity 8, Second Varsity 8, Third Varsity 8, and Freshman 4 at the UVA scrimmage.
The Bison officially started the season at the 35th Murphy Cup, on Saturday March 25th. Conditions proved to be near perfect for racing, with temperatures in the high 60’s, negligible winds, and passing clouds. The Men’s Varsity Eight was in some of the tightest racing of the day. In their heat the Bison lead Drexel and Wesleyan all the way until 600 meters to go. Drexel made a hard push but Bucknell went with them, both crews pulling away from Wesleyan. The race came all the way down to the line, but Drexel finished just ahead of Bucknell. A progression system based on times saw the Bison relegated to the B final, but they still put in a strong performance there. Delaware would win the B final in a time of 5:50.8, with Bucknell just behind them with a time of 5:53.1. The 1v was rowed by Nick Barpoulis ’17, Sam Jubb ’17, Billy Pinamont ’17, Tom Lanphier ’20, John Leasure ’19, Dillon LaFata ’18, Andrew Stonnington ’19, Ryan McSherry ’19, and was coxed by Cami Berlin ’19. This was a good start to the year for the Varsity 8 in an extremely tight field that saw places 2-9 finish within 6 seconds of each other.
The Second Varsity Eight narrowly missed out on a grand final appearance. Drawing a fast heat against Drexel and Bates the Bison charged out to an early lead, but could not quite hold on to it. Strong surges from Drexel and Bates saw Bucknell’s lead slip away. The Bison charged late but could not make up the gap on Bates, finishing less than 3 seconds behind Drexel and Bates. The 2v never quite found a rhythm in the B final, finishing in 4th place with a time of 6:08.2. The 2v was rowed by Thomas Marth ’19, Duncan Ragland ’19, James Koenigsberg ’18, Mike Pallotta ’18, Alex Herman ’20, Christian Daugherty ’18, Lucas Colagrossi ’17, Pat Long ’18, and was coxed by Perry Hamilton ’18. The morning heat showed us that the 2v can be very competitive against the top competition, but will need to show more consistency throughout the season.
The Third Varsity Eight started the day with a rough performance in the heat. The young crew started well, but fell behind Drexel and Temple to finish 3rd in the heat. Qualifying for the final, but knowing their mornings performance was lackluster, the 3v charged out to attack the grand final early. Temple moved away from the field quickly, but a tight 3 way battle developed between Drexel, Virginia, and Bucknell. At the finish line Temple had won, Virginia held on for second, with Bucknell in third, winning the bronze medal and finishing in a time of 6:07.4, less than a second behind Virginia, and 1.6 seconds ahead of Drexel. The 3v was rowed by Gunnar Vorwerk ’19, Matt LaRouche ’20, John Robertshaw ’20, Ryan Wang ’19, Matt Brown ’20, David Sullivan ’20, Mike Birosak ’18, Gary Tse ’19, and was coxed by Nicole Finan ’17.
The final and closest event of the day was the Novice Four. With only three boats from their heat qualifying for the final, Bucknell and North Carolina engaged in a close race for the third finishing spot. North Carolina had surged to a length lead with 500 meters to go, but the Bison came flying back. The lead was just too far, and Bucknell finished in a time of 7:36.7, less than a half a second behind North Carolina. The Novice Four was rowed by Phil Thompson ’20, Sam Jacob ’20, Caleb Choi ’20, Solomon Wise ’20, and was coxed by Zack Schiffer ’20.
This was the beginning of a busy spring race schedule for the team, with races just about every weekend during the remainder of the semester. This weekend the Bison will compete on Saturday, April 1st, at the Ithaca Duels against Ithaca College, the Cornell University Lightweights, Hobart College, Mercyhurst University, and Franklin & Marshall College. We hope to see everyone there!