PRINCETON, N.J. - The Saint Joseph’s men’s rowing team capped off one its finest seasons in school history as the Hawks finished 17th as a team at the IRA National Championship Regatta, despite the event ending early due to high wind conditions on Mercer Lake.
The Hawks’ Varsity 8 competed in the Third Level Final on Sunday and finished fifth, which gave them 17th place in the Ten Eyck Team Championship standings, and a national ranking of 17th. It marks the first time ever that SJU finished in the Top 20.
SJU clocked a 7:15 in the race that was won by Cornell (6:58), as those times showed how much the conditions had deteriorated in a few hours, as the Grand Final was won by Yale in a time of 6:01. SJU’s Varsity 8 lineup was: c- Jenn Reynolds; 8- Jack Darling; 7- Riley McGwin; 6- Garren Best; 5- Claudio Recchilungo 4- Thomson Rymer; 3- Kjel Schlemmer; 2- Justin Hawkins; 1- Dave Gee.
The Second Varsity 8 and Third Varsity 8 boats were both on the course warming up when Sunday’s remaining races were stopped.
The Second Varsity 8 had finished fourth in the C/D Semifinals to reach the Fourth Final, which was then cancelled. The lineup was: c-Fiona Conway; 8- Mike Geoghegan; 7- James Hammerstedt; 6- Collin Seabrook; 5- Joe Sullivan; 4- Justin Aikens; 3- Andrew O'Connor; 2- Devin Swech; 1- Mike Fedele.
The Third Varsity 8 had advanced to the Third Level Final by finishing fourth in the Repechage, but that final was also cancelled. That boat was comprised of: c: Courtney McDonnell; 8- Jason Peacock; 7- Rob McCullough 6- Josh Bostrom; 5- Gavin O’Connor; 4- Pat Ganter; 3- Collin Petersen; 2- John Thompson; 1- Jansen Kachel.
“Our ability to grow and build as a program from last year's National Championship has been extremely rewarding. This season's squad, Team #64, was determined to show that they belonged with the top 25 programs in the country,” said seventh-year head coach Mike Irwin. “Our departing seniors have come a long way since their freshman year when our 1V and 2V boats could not move past the semi-finals of the Dad Vail. They made a decision in 2015 to begin to put in the work to become something greater and I am very proud of how they helped raise the standards for the future of Hawk rowing.”
“I feel for all the boats in the regatta that did not get their chance to race one last time. It's a rough wave of emotions to train all year for the national championship only to have the weather intervene in the final moment. The conditions went from a test of speed to a test of survival. The regatta committee had to make a tough decision but it was absolutely the right one.”
Saint Joseph’s graduating seniors are Garren Best, Andrew O’Connor, Claudio Recchlungo, Jenn Reynolds and Thomson Rymer.