PHILADELPHIA, PA - The Iona College Men's Rowing season came to a close Saturday morning at the 83rd Dad Vail Regatta.
With the new format, instead of preliminary round heats each event with 19 or more entries would run a single file time trial. Every 20 seconds a crew would enter the course looking to test their speed and end up among the top 18 who would move on to the semi finals.
The Gaels were one of 22 freshman eights vying for a spot in the semi final. Finishing ahead of only four boats was a realistic goal but unfortunately equipment issues during the race prevented the crew from crossing the finish line with all eight men rowing, a distinct disadvantage, and finished in last place in the time trial with a time of 7:00 well off the pace of the qualifying crews. The team consisted of coxswain Chris Capozzola followed by Tim Strowbridge, Matthew Laliberte, Justin Brownell, Thomas Hoehmann, Eric Berger, Tyler Reynolds, Rocco Borghetti and Killian Kane.
"Mistakes happen in rowing from time to time", said men's coach John Boyd, "especially with freshman/novice rowers. It's just unfortunate that the mistake had to happen now." This is the second year in a row Iona has fielded a freshman eight at the Dad Vail which is a step in the right direction.
The varsity pair made up of Edward Gonzalez and Barry James also found themselves in a time trial and just narrowly escaped elimination by placing 17th with a time of 7:18.8. In their semi final heat they placed 6th with a time of 7:55.4 eliminating them from further competition.Overall their time put them in 16th place to finish the season.
Iona's third and final entry at the Dad Vail was the varsity lightweight eight. This is the first time Iona has raced a lightweight 8 at Vails since 1986. In the 6 boat final the Gaels were led by coxswain Bianca Mesqueue, Patrick Drummond, Vito Roca, Christian Carstensen, Abraham Bluestone, Steven Quirino, Chad Doria, John Hidalgo and Brad Wheaton. The team placed a close 6th in 6:32, just two seconds behind Michigan State. The winning time of 5:46 belonged to Dad Vail lightweight power Delaware with Temple and Mercyhurst rounding out the medals.
The Dad Vail marks the end of the 2016-2017 rowing season which saw plenty of positive take-aways from a young grounp of Gaels.