The Mercyhurst University women’s rowing team took first place at the 33rd Memorial Murphy Cup Regatta in Camden, N.J., on Saturday.
The Lakers, ranked fifth in the nation, only saw one other Division II competitor: nationally ranked eighth place Philadelphia University. The team also faced several Division III teams including Bates College, ranked second in the nation, Hamilton College and Franklin and Marshall, both tied for 13th in the nation.
Mercyhurst opened up the weekend’s competition, finishing their first heat with a time of 7:08.08. The next closest finisher in the heat, more than 40 seconds behind the Lakers, was Franklin and Marshall with a time of 7:51.30. Freshman Margaret Kneuer coxswained the winning boat.
After dominating the first heat, the Lakers carried their strong performance into the finals. They finished 12 seconds ahead of the second place finisher, Bates College, with a time of 6:54.02. The Lakers beat Philadelphia University which had a time of 7:11.23.
Mercyhurst had a second boat this weekend in the junior varsity women’s competition. The JV boat, led by freshman coxswain Chelsea Guida, did not advance past its first heat, taking fifth place out of six with a time of 8:06.36.
“We’ve become one unit. Our coach said we have a stronger bond than we’ve seen in past years,” she said.
The team traveled to Alabama for training camp which Guida said was “hell.” However, she said head coach Adrian Spracklen tells the team that “championships are won in the winter; champions are crowned in the spring.”
Freshman Abbie Rinard was a part of the winning eight. This is also Rinard’s first season participating in a team sport. She said the team atmosphere is welcoming, but competitive.
“All of the upperclassmen are amazing. They’re very welcoming and supportive of everyone on the team,” she said.
However, when it comes to competing for starting spots she said, “there is the ‘she’s beating me, but I also want her in my boat.’ It’s about the boat, not the individual.”
Mercyhurst women’s rowing will compete next on Saturday, April 11, and Sunday, April 12, in the Knecht Cup in Mercer Lake, N.J.