Crew team impresses against division one opponents at Murphy Cup Regatta

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The crew team took home four gold medals at the Memorial Murphy Cup Regatta last weekend. (Photo courtesy of Assistant Coach Derek Richmond)

Eric Ponieman, Contributing Writer

The crew team had a strong outing this past weekend at the 39th Memorial Murphy Cup Regatta, with four boats earning gold medals. The regatta was hosted by Temple University on the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia. This was the Leopards’ first competition after finishing winter training.

“I was super excited for this race, as we faced a lot of high-quality competitors,” junior Abby Hammel said. “We were able to travel to Florida for training over spring break, and have been on the water ever since. I felt very confident in our ability to not only keep up with the rest, but excel.”

The crew team, which is classified as a club team, did not back down to Division I teams such as Georgetown, Drexel, West Virginia and Rutgers.

The women’s varsity four crew earned gold as they finished roughly two seconds ahead of Georgetown. This boat consisted of seniors Haley Simpson and Elizabeth Good, Hammel and junior Lauren Salbinski and senior coxswain Erika Nally.

The women’s junior varsity four boat of seniors Maddie Barto and Libby Mayer, juniors Meghan Roberts and Arden Westphalen and senior coxswain Nina Weissbach also finished in first, about 10 seconds ahead of UMass. 

The women’s novice four earned gold, finishing about one and a half seconds ahead of Marist. That crew was made up of first years Noni Lorentzen, Tara Whipkey, Elise Walsh and Hayden van Steyn as well as sophomore coxswain Hannah Sterett.

The women’s varsity eight boat of Simpson, Salbinski, Hammel, Good, Barto, Westphalen, Mayer, senior Sherry Deng and Nally competed in the Division II/III category and came away with a win over a nationally-ranked Washington College program. They beat them by 13 seconds.  

Lafayette had to make several comebacks to come out on top.

“For the varsity four, Georgetown actually beat our boat in the qualifying race, so we had to work really hard to win the Grand Final,” Hammel said. “Also, in the varsity eight, Washington stuck really close with us in the beginning, meaning we had to push hard to pull away. All the athletes in the other boats were super talented, and it truly was some close racing.”

Head Coach Rick Kelliher was proud of his team for showcasing all the hard work they’ve put in, and competing with such formidable opponents. 

“It’s always exciting and impressive to go head-to-head with varsity programs and come out on top,” Kelliher said. “The varsity and junior varsity crews showed hints of the speed they’re capable of, and the novices also showed their potential.”

For the men’s side, the varsity four of sophomore Eliot Rusk, junior Henry Grote, seniors Ethan Ames and Tino Dubischar, and senior coxswain Charles Scorscone finished one spot out of making the Grand Final. Three and a half seconds separated them from qualification.

The Maroon and White also raced a men’s junior varsity four of junior Jacob Mina, sophomore Alan Jones, seniors Daniel Lopiccolo and Tyler Armstrong and freshman coxswain Eric Grayson, who were unable to qualify for the Grand Final.

The men’s novice four was forced to drop out of the competition due to illness.

After such a strong performance at the Memorial Murphy Cup Regatta, it seems like a shift in mentality is due for the crew team. 

“Our coach was super happy that we medaled, but he always knew that we had the potential to win,” Hammel said. “He told us to go out and row like a Division I crew, and that’s exactly what we did. He definitely wants us to work on our confidence, though, and understanding our potential. We shouldn’t be intimidated by other crews just because we assume they’re better than us.”

The Leopards are working on repeating their success at the Dad Vail Regatta, where last year’s team won five medals. They head to Cherry Hill, N.J. next week for the Knecht Cup Regatta.

“We’re more excited than ever for the rest of the season,” Hammel said.