The Saint Joseph's men's rowing team has earned an at-large invitation to the Intercollegiate Rowing Association (IRA) National Championship Regatta which will be held on Lake Natoma in Sacramento, Calif. from June 2-4, it was announced by USRowing.

It marks the first time in the IRA's current format of varsity-only crews and qualification standards instituted in 2009 that the Hawks received a bid to the championship. In the years prior to that, club teams were allowed to participate and there was no qualification process.

Saint Joseph's has put together one of its most successful seasons in school history and will have three boats participating in the championship – the Varsity 8, the Second Varsity 8 and the Third Varsity 8. Each of those boats medaled at last weekend's Dad Vail Regatta with SJU placing third in the men's team standings.

The Varsity 8 earned a silver medal at Dad Vails, for its first medal in that event since 1999. The Hawks also captured the Bergen Cup title for the first time since 2008, as that boat won four out of five races this season.

The Second Varsity 8 won gold at the Dad Vail Regatta for its first win in that event since 2005, while also finishing first at the 2017 Bergen Cup.  

SJU's Third Varsity 8 took home Dad Vail gold for the first time in school history, and notched its second consecutive regatta medal as the Hawks earned a bronze last year.  

“By earning a bid to the national championship, this is basically another season for us. We now have three weeks to prepare for a new championship season. This is our first true invite to the national championship so it has turned a great year into a historic year. We're very excited,” said head coach Mike Irwin.

Leading SJU's crew that will be making the trip to Sacramento are senior team captain David Wong (V8) and senior team commodore Keenan Perry (V8), along with classmates Matt Ladd (V8), Caroline Bird (cox, V8) and Matt Conlin (2V8). The Hawks' juniors are: Garren Best (V8), Eric Jones (2V8), Andrew O'Connor (2V8), Claudio Recchilungo (V8), Jenn Reynolds (cox, 2V8), Thomson Rymer (V8), and Trevor Tuthill (3V8).

SJU's sophomores are: Justin Aikens (3V8), Josh Bostrom (3V8), Fiona Conway (cox, 2V8), Jack Darling (2V8), Riley McGwin (V8), James Hammerstedt (2V8), and Joe Sullivan (2V8). The Hawk freshmen are: Slam Dunkley (V8), Justin Hawkins (3V8), David Gee (3V8), Bobby Lojewski (3V8), Kevin Lichtenfels (2V8), Julian Palermo (3V8), Devin Swech (2V8), and Michael Thompson (3V8).

A total of 35 institutions will be represented at this year's regatta on Lake Natoma. The men's heavyweight division has a full-field of 24 crews in the Varsity Eight and Second Eight Categories while the Third Varsity Eight has a record 20 entries. The Varsity Four event will field 25 crews.

Joining Saint Joseph's as at-large selections to the National Championship were Penn, George Washington, Columbia, Northeastern, Navy and Oregon State.  

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