GW Men's Rowing Opens Spring Season on Friday at Penn Invite
March 21, 2013
WASHINGTON - The George Washington men's rowing team opens its spring racing schedule this weekend at the University of Pennsylvania Invitational on the Cooper River in Camden, N.J.
The Colonials will row three races each against Northeastern (Friday), Georgetown (Saturday morning) and Penn (Saturday afternoon). All three races are part of the Penn Invitational, with Saturday's varsity race against the Quakers being for the McCausland Cup.
Now in its sixth year, the McCausland Cup is annually awarded to the winner of the varsity race between the Colonials and the Quakers. Penn has won the last two meetings to take a 3-2 lead in the series.
"After a long offseason, a great winter training trip in Florida and our recent spring break training we are really looking forward to racing this weekend," said head coach Mark Davis. "All our crews have gained a lot of speed, which is exciting to see. Our first race is against Northeastern, one of the top six programs in the country. It's going to a great test for us. And on Saturday, Georgetown and Penn are both big rivalry races."
After a successful 2011-12 season, which saw the George Washington men's rowing team send two boats to the Intercollegiate Rowing Association (IRA) National Championships, the future looks bright for fourth-year head coach Mark Davis and his Colonials.
"The highlight of our season last year was for us to send two boats to the IRA National Championships," said Coach Davis. "What that did for our team was that it allowed them to realize they can compete on a national stage with the top teams in the country".
The Colonials sent their Varsity 8 and Freshman 8 to IRA's last season, with both crews appearing in the third-level finals at the 110th installment of the prestigious championship weekend.
"Our goal this year is to get back there as a team and send our full squad," said Coach Davis. "That is one of our big goals this season. And I think going last year gave them all a taste of what it was like and it has been driving them all offseason."
The motivation from the end of last season carried over the summer and into the fall season, where the Colonials had success in local head races and open events. They registered two victories at the Occoquan Chase, performed well at the Princeton Chase and also competed at the legendary Head of the Charles Regatta.
"We had a strong showing this fall, especially by our freshmen boats at the Princeton Chase," said Coach Davis. "It gave us a good idea of where we stood and how much work we needed to put in over the winter."
Now in his fourth season, Coach Davis has seen a transformation take place among his team and expectations are riding high headed into the spring schedule.
"There has been a big transition on the team since I have been here," said Coach Davis. "There is a lot more seriousness as we try to raise this program to a new level. Our seniors are a big part of this and have been tremendous. They have set the bar high, and the younger classes have followed their lead."
Following this weekend's races the Colonials will look ahead to the George Washington Invitational, which has evolved into a spectacle on the Potomac River. The regatta, entering its 25th year, draws hundreds of spectators to the banks of the Potomac River for two days of intercollegiate racing.
"We are really exited for the 25th anniversary of this event," said Coach Davis. "We have some new competition coming in this season, so that is big for us. We always love welcoming back our alumni to come and support the program. Last year it was really exciting, and it is has grown into a very unique collegiate event. When down at the waterfront, you can tell it's a George Washington event, and we take great pride in that."
Following the GW Invite, the Colonials will head south to Oak Ridge, Tenn., to compete in the Southern Intercollegiate Rowing Association (SIRA) Championships on Lake Mellon, April 20-21. Last season, the Colonials punched their ticket to the IRA National Championships by earning two gold medals at the event.
On April 28 the Colonials will face Rutgers and Georgetown on the Potomac River before visiting Navy and Columbia in Princeton, N.J., on May 5.
GW will compete in its conference championships, the Eastern Sprints, on May 19 in Worcester, Mass.