Wednesday, January 31, 2007

2007 Season Preview - Lehigh University

It's cold outside (finally) but the erg rooms are heating up and it's time for Fight in the Dog's 2007 season preview. I preview the coming season for each of last year's top ten V8s, starting with #10 and finishing with #1. If I believe a program won't be boating a light eight, I'll hurl curses in their general direction and fill in the slot with the next crew down the list. I'm also starting a lightweight race calendar which I'll fill in as I do the previews. So far Lehigh's schedule is in. You can find it here.

Last year we began with #10 Lehigh University and this year we begin with #10. . . Lehigh. If you're a Lehigh rower, perhaps you're a bit disappointed not to have improved on the prior season, but in a year that saw the entire lightweight field move up a notch in competitiveness, holding your own isn't such a bad result.

Lehigh's season starts on the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia, a course nearly as familiar to the Mountain Hawks as their home water. Facing Delaware, St. Joseph's, and LaSalle on March 19th, the lightweights should get an opportunity to race against lightweights from St. Joe's. St. Joe's usually has lightweights early in the season, dropping them later if they don't appear to be fast. Delaware and LaSalle may also boat lightweights. Lehigh heads back to Philadelphia the next weekend for another race against LaSalle on Saturday and against Villanova on Sunday. Villanova also usually boats lightweights early. March ends with the Murphy Cup on the 24th, which is a race in which Coach Savell expects to race lightweights. Last year Lehigh raced a light four, although a light eight may have been entered in a heavyweight event.

April kicks off with the San Diego Crew Classic (what a great trip!) and although there is a light eight event, at the moment Lehigh's lightweights are not expected to race there. The Crew Classic is followed by a dual with Drexel back in Philadelphia the next weekend, and the Knecht Cup in Camden the following weekend. Knecht will be a key test for the Mountain Hawks since, despite Windermere occurring on the same day, they'll be able to line up against some of the best programs in the nation. Following Knecht is the rivalry race with Lafayette, with Army crashing the party. Lafayette was racing some lightweights in the fall, so they may race here. The month ends with the Patriot League Championships in Worcester. Coach Savell expects to race a light boat at Patriots, although there wasn't a light event last year. Either there is this year or the lightweights will race as heavyweights.

The championship month of May will see Lehigh racing lightweights at Dad Vail on the 11th and then at IRAs at the end of the month. We'll have to see how Dad Vail shakes out vs. ECACs. Maybe now that ECAC canceled the lightweight events last year, everyone will just go to Dad Vail and be done with it.

The Knecht Cup should be the first big test for Lehigh. They haven't raced here for several years but they plan to this year and that will be important to get a feel for where they stand. Of course, a Dad Vail championship should be a key goal, one that is doable and which would provide some momentum heading into IRAs. Lehigh lost three rowers from last year's IRA boat so, while not a complete reconstruction, there will still be some work to be done to be at least as competitive as last year.


Anonymous said...

looks like Dayton is #10 in your list.

Anonymous said...

nevermind, you said last year's #10, I get it now.

Anonymous said...

according to my sources, Lehigh only lost two rowers post-IRAs.

JW Burk said...

I got my information from Coach Savell, but it's possible something has changed...