Mercyhurst University men’s and women’s rowing teams had a rewarding weekend while competing in the Mid-America Collegiate Rowing Association (MACRA) Championships in Ypsilanti, Mich., over the weekend.
All in all, the Lakers snagged two gold, one silver, and two bronze medals on April 27 and April 28.
Men’s rowing earned a gold medal in the morning, a bronze in lightweight 8+ competition, and ended the day with a bronze finish behind Michigan and Grand Valley State in the lightweight 4+.
Women’s rowing received a gold medal in novice 4+ play, and a silver medal in the finals, placing behind Grand Valley State.
Prior to the weekend’s races, the Lakers competed in the prestigious CarDuPitt Regatta on April 20 against crews hailing from University of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon and Duquesne.
Conditions were intense for the CarDuPitt Regatta, with headwinds nearing 20 mph causing a vigorous current in the direction of the race.
“Racing at the CarDuPitt was quite the experience. Race conditions were a little less than spectacular with strong headwinds and waves, and it made for some tough competition,” said Erin Burns. “It was discombobulating, but we had spent time this season rowing at Presque Isle with similar conditions, which in the end we were all grateful for the experience.”
Senior Jordan Herbert learned that the team can preserver through anything if they could handle the turbulent currents they overcame during the CarDuPitt Regatta.
“The wind was very rough, which created a lot of waves in the water. It was what I imagine rowing in an ocean feels like. Luckily our team was used to rougher conditions,” said Herbert. “Overall, the team learned that we can handle whatever the elements throw at us, and that we work very well together in the lineups our coaches had us in that weekend.”
Women’s rowing varsity four boat came in third behind University of Pittsburgh and Duquesne. Their novice four boat grabbed a second-place finish just behind Duquesne. To end the competition, the Laker’s varisty eight finished second overall with a time of 8:22.4.
“Overall, the race was a learning experience for us all. It was a reminder to us to keep our heads cool and in the boat, and to work together as a team,” said freshman Erin Burns. “When the water gets rough, rowing can get very hard and sloppy if you don’t stay focused. We learned to deal with the weather because we cannot change it, and to trust our coxswain to keep us on course.”
Coach Adrian Spracklen has kept the women’s rowing team on direction towards another chance in the NCAA Championship.
“The racing conditions in Pittsburgh were less than ideal; the water was very turbulent and actually sank the University of Pittsburgh varsity eight boat at the finish line,” said Spracklen. “We have been reshuffling the line-ups in the eight and four boats to see if we can find the speed needed to get to our sixth consecutive NCAA Championship.”
The Mercyhurst University men’s and women’s rowing teams will next compete in the Dad Vail Regatta on Friday, May 10, and Saturday, May 11.