Courtesy: Fairfield University

Eights Collect First Place Finishes Against SHU, Manhattan, Iona

Courtesy: Fairfield University
April 01, 2017

SHELTON, Conn. -- The weather may not have been the best on the Housatonic River this morning, but the Fairfield University rowing teams made the most of the conditions. The Stags picked up first-place finishes in four of the five races, competing against Iona, Manhattan, and Sacred Heart.

The men's varsity 8 started the day off with an impressive win over Iona, beating the Gaels by a comfortable 40 seconds. The Stags crossed the finish line in 7:05.3 while the opposition ended its run in 7:45.1  The Stags' entry included Mike Clarkson, Greg Coppola, Casey Fuller, John Imor, Lars Erickson, Will Quentin, James Mulhall, Seamus O'Brien, and  coxswain Tim Valente.

The second varsity 8 also enjoyed success on the water today, beating Iona by nearly a minute in the two-boat race. The Stags took 7:05.2 to navigate the 1500 meter course while the Gaels needed 8:02.5 to complete the distance. Fairfield's boat was comprised by Matt Sutter, Mark Soldatic, Richard Saganey, Charles Cooper, Nick Greco, Charlie Riordan, John O'Neill, Herbie Marache, and coxswain Matt Marshall.

"The men's program is rowing with a lot of confidence and it is showing in their performances even in very difficult conditions," Director of Rowing David Patterson said. "They are rowing with belief in themselves and each other and when they launch they are ready to take on the world."

On the women's side, the varsity 8 was edged by host Sacred Heart University as the Pioneers took the top spot with a time of 7:47.4. Fairfield's time of 8:10.0 placed the crew second, followed by Iona (8:59.2) and Manhattan (9:46.1). The Stags' Ani Dennen, Laura Milkes, Eileen Harris, Mallory Burlington, Colleen Sheridan, Cat Clough, Allison Sloan, Tina Chalastra, and coxswain Katie Clark competed in the race.

The second varsity 8 picked up a victory against Sacred Heart and Iona, competing in what was the closest race of the day. Fairfield's time of 8:20.0 was slightly faster than Sacred Heart's time of 8:21.3. Iona finished a distance third by running the course in 9:15.0. The Fairfield shell included Claire Lavette, Lina Foncello, Kelsey Carthew, Bri Mullaney, Dani McKenna, Amanda McKenna, Kerry Clarke, Katrina Kirchgasse, and coxswain Leanne Anderson.

The third varsity 8 included two Fairfield entries with the A boat taking first place (6:05.8) and the B boat garnering second place (6:35.2). The rest of the field included Sacred Heart (6:39.0) and Manhattan (6:59.7).

The A crew was comprised by Rachel Sansone, Megan Donbensky, Julia Cooper, Aileen Morley-McLaughlin, Shelley Wilson, Maggie O'Donnell, Mikayla Goria, Julie Becker, and coxswain Laura Mason. The B boat was comprised by Sophia Dondero, Christina Maher, Nicole Chrysler, Katelyn Sweeney, Maddie Feeley, Erin Godfrey, Sarah Van Steenbergen, Michaela Bassett, and coxswain Claudia Worotikan.

"The women's team were going out in experimental line ups but with less than two hours on the water this week due to low tide conditions they didn't row with either the confidence or the trust in themselves or each other to handle the conditions. More time on the water will help in that regard.' Patterson said.

With the positive results and a quality start to the spring season, the Stags are showing that they might have the right combinations to compete at this year's championships.

"Two races into the spring and it feels as if time is already running out in the quest to find and then train the perfect line ups for MAACs," Patterson said. "Given the point distributions, it is obviously very hard to win a championship without presenting a very fast 1V8 so our focus for the next two weeks will be to find the right line up. We have depth in which to find a competitive 2V8 and V4. Six weeks to go until the championship showdown so things are going to get very interesting."

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