April 3rd, 2016
Fairfax Station, Virginia
Laker Navy Has Strong Showing at Occoquan Sprints
The Laker Navy had a successful weekend trip to the nation’s capitol with a strong finish at the Occoquan Sprints. With strong winds gusting to over thirty miles per hour, racing proved challenging. The races were shortened due to the crashing waves and many were off of a moving start. However, the determination of the crews prevailed and the strong headwind could not stop the might of the Laker Navy.
After a two hour wind delay, racing finally commenced. Heats for the larger events were held in the morning, along with some final only events. The 1V men, 1V women, and both men and women’s novice eights advanced to their respective grand finals. The 2V eight was a final only; the mixed varsity-novice boat raced their way to a fourth place finish. The freshman four was also final only, with the novice men also earning a fourth place finish.
The Varsity men’s eight elected to race fours in between events, a total of three varsity fours participated. The A and B boats earned first place finishes. In what was the most exciting event of the day, the third four was bowball to bowball with Mary Washington’s top four. With a photo finish, the crew finished just 0.1 seconds behind first. The women’s club four found similar success, finishing first in their final.
The novice men’s eight was eager to get their first finals under their belts. In the final race for the boat, they faced top competition in Drexel and Delaware. After a strong race, they finished the day third. Equally as eager to race, the women’s novice eight earned a second place finish behind the University of North Carolina. Both boats will have rematches later in the year with the other crews at Dad Vail and ACRA.
The varsity men looked to continue the success of the heats and the fours in the final. Both Grand Valley and Delaware quickly separated from the field, with a close battle ensuing. Hanging tough, the men finished second by 2.06 seconds. “The race today was a great gauge of our speed this early in the spring season,” said Dom Bilochini, the stroke seat of the 1V. “Unfortunately not quite the result we wanted, but good experience building into the Lubbers Cup and beyond.”
On the women’s side, the 1V women had some switches in their lineup to try and find hidden speed. In the final event of the day, the eight finished third behind Drexel and North Carolina. When asked about the race, captain Emily Koons replied: “It was an awesome race. We pushed through the finish line long and strong, staying within seats of the top two finishers. We have come a long way from our races in the fall, and I can tell we are on track to having a great and competitive spring season.”
With hard work, the entire blue collar crew can expect a competitive season as well. This past weekend was a productive step towards the championship season ahead. Both hard racing and fun times were had by all. The Laker Navy now turns towards the Lubbers Cup this weekend. Thank you to the alumni and parents that came out to support the team this weekend, your support is appreciated! We hope to see you at the Lubbers Cup this weekend, keep pulling for the Laker Navy!