Saturday, May 13, 2006

Dad Vail - Dayton and Nova Southeastern Win Championships

Light 4+As expected, the light four final at Dad Vail was a tight finish, with the top three boats within 3 seconds and change of each other. Nova Southeastern continued its tear, winning by 1 second over Pitt, with Virginia Tech another 2 seconds back. Lawrence, Georgia, and Buffalo rounded out the grand final field. As this race approached the 500 meter mark it was impossible to tell if any of the top three boats held an advantage. All the separation seemed to come as they moved through the island with Nova opening a bit on Pitt and Pitt opening a bit more on VT. At the top of the island it seemed clear that Nova had given this race everything they had to give and were desperately looking for the finish line. Pitt was poised to reel them in, but was running out of water. The crowd, anticipating a Pitt sprint, waited for the Panthers' rate to come up, but it never quite did. Light 4+Pitt closed, but not enough, and Nova hung on for the victory. Virginia Tech, rolling down lane one was making their own stealth attack, but didn't have enough left to make any real headway. This was a hard fought race and the fact that the top three finishers all but had their tongues dragging in the water as they crossed the finish line made it all the more obvious. Of course, it's not quite fair to characterize Nova as "hanging on" because they took this race to the rest of the field and won it. When the field was tight, they cranked it up and moved away from the pack, making everyone else try to catch them. Lawrence, Georgia, and Buffalo all finished respectably and, although out of the medals, could take solace in the fact that they were 4th, 5th, and 6th out of 20 boats entered.
Light 4+

As I mentioned in my last post, I really hadn't seen results for Nova SE before so they were a surprise to me. A reader noted that they raced a UCF four early in the year and although they lost, they were fast even then. If we look at the final last year and this year, only Pitt was in both. That kind of turnover makes for exciting regattas.

Speaking of Pitt, the last time I wrote about them I was wondering what happened to them at Knecht. A silver at Vails is what I call a nice recovery. No doubt they were at least momentarily unhappy with second, but if they think about it they'll recognize a nice achievement.

Light 8+In between thunderstorm delays the V8 race went off with Dayton, Lehigh, and Villanova in the field. The final times show a 5 second difference between 1st and 2nd, but it looked like Dayton was in cruise control as they came over the line. Again, Villanova and Lehigh had respectable races, but it looked like Dayton had more to give. I think this was a case of a program who has put some focus on lightweights racing against boats of opportunity. A great race here would've been Dayton and Bucknell, but Bucknell has other priorities (more on that later).Light 8+

The Dad Vail was marred by rain delays today, which resulted in the regatta committee forgoing the traditional awarding of medals at the medal dock after the race in favor of a simple handover to a team representative. This was a shame and was unnecessary. The sun shone brightly as the regatta officials checked their lightning detectors (I kid you not), determined that there was still danger, and continued to delay the races. Even with the delay, however, it's hard to see why medals couldn't have been awarded to crews at the dock. Nonetheless, the races otherwise were well run and the weather was surprisingly good. And best of all, they actually held lightweight races.

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