Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Dad Vail

The Dad Vail Regatta kicks off on Friday with four heats of lightweight fours for a total of twenty boats. Three from each heat of five go to semi-finals so these crews should get in a lot of racing. Looking over the field, we haven't seen results for each of these boats, but I would guess that we have for the faster ones. Then again, where did Penn State come from last week?

The favorites out of the first heat would have to be Penn State and Carnegie Mellon. CMU is a mystery all of a sudden, but I can't imagine they will be 18 seconds behind Penn State this weekend. The second heat contains UConn, which has shown itself capable of beating UMass pretty handily, who is also in the heat. Of the other crews in that heat, Buffalo may show some promise. Buffalo doesn't have an eight entered (wonder why?), so this four may be the fastest from the bigger boat. The third heat has Virginia Tech, the new boat to beat, and Northwestern, last year's winner. The final heat has Pitt, in whom I'm putting some faith to get back on track here, and then a toss-up for second. Perhaps St. Joe's will show some speed in this heat.

This light four event will have some great racing to go with some great storylines. We'll find out if the newly fast, Virginia Tech and Penn State, are for real, if CMU and Pitt can get it together one last time, and if Northwestern can defend their title. Some crews I might like to have seen here are Tampa and Loyola. Tampa had some good races early in the season that might have made them want to test themselves against bigger competition. Loyola also raced earlier in the season and while they took some lumps, they did beat Villanova.

The V8 is a three boat race among Lehigh, Dayton, and Villanova. Lehigh and Villanova are relatively untested in the eight, unlike Dayton, and it's hard to know how fast they'll be. Dayton is having an excellent season and is coming off a win at the A10 championships over URI. I'm disappointed that there are only three boats in this race, most of all for Dayton. The Flyers deserve to defend their championship against a bigger field and the winner of this race should see more boats behind them. It would be great to see Ohio State in this race, but they decided to go to ECACs (which has canceled all lightweight events). Also from last year, UCF is racing in California and UCSB is not racing lightweights. What about URI and Bucknell? Bucknell in particular has been nowhere to be seen. Bucknell is racing heavyweights at Dad Vail but the lights aren't there. I thought they had brought in some lightweight recruits this year but it looks like they may be only a boat of opportunity. In any case, it looks like they're not yet ready to see themselves as a serious lightweight program. This is disappointing because I thought they were making a commitment to lightweights.

While the on-again off-again ECAC debacle hurt the light eight entries, there is a strong field in the fours and we'll see some great racing. In the eights, defending champ Dayton will need to assume the worst racing against relative unknowns, and will do their best not to be surprised. It will be a great two days and will be followed up by Eastern Sprints on Sunday, only fifteen minutes away.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

if you want to play with the big girls, race an eight.