The Jacksonville University men’s rowing team pulled a feat most teams don’t dream about when it won the state collegiate rowing championships – for the sixth consecutive year.
The Dolphins swept all 8s races and pulled near sweep in the 4s in the Florida Intercollegiate Rowing Association championships at Benderson Park in Sarasota on Saturday.
The Varsity 8 team, on board Micasa, and with Andrew Soloway at coxswain, beat Rollins by 4.7 seconds over the 2,000-meter Cooper Creek course. Georgia Tech was third.
Joining Soloway were: Matt Outlaw, Scott DelVecchio, Andy Davis, Greg VanOekel, Bernard Vingilis, Jeremy Sobiech, Brian Cosmillo and Chase Rowe.
The JV 8, with Tom Richards at coxswain and Preston Weinard, Andrew Bechtold, Tim Easterling, Jared Low, Chris Ottie, Sean Carney, Brian Tye and Shane Kennedy on board, beat out Georgia Tech and Florida in Big Bob.
The JU Freshman 8 finished the sweep by winning its race for an impressive eighth consecutive year. The team knocked off Rollins, Georgia Tech, Florida, Embry-Riddle and Florida State. Racing on Tiger, coxswain David Waugh led the crew of Jacob Strauss, Stephen Marra, Matt Thomas, Drew Allen, Jacob Motes, Chris Morgan, Shawn Macklefresh and Josh Holt.
The Varsity 4 team of coxswain Ben Hayes, Delvecchio, Davis, Rowe and Outlaw beat seven teams on its way to a win while the Junior Varsity 4, Richards, Weinard, Low, Ottie and Carney pulled the second JU win in the 4s.
The Freshman 4, with Waugh, Sobiech, Strauss, Easterling and Matt Thomas on board, hit something in the water at the start of the race and broke a skeg, which led to a loss of control of the boat.
“It’s unfortunate for those guys because they were really fast,’’ coach Jim Mitchell said. “They showed good speed in the heat winning by 20 seconds.’’
Mitchell was buoyed by the overall performance.
“We had a really good showing,’’ he said. “I was really proud of our student- athletes and coaching staff. We did a great job representing JU today, and had a great crowd of family, friends, and alums supporting us.’’
The Dolphins, he said, showed prowess because of depth.
“Everyone on the team raced well, and the depth of our team showed,’’ he said. “This was a great way to start our championship season. Now, we have to continue our learning process because the races get tougher each week.’’
The championship season continues this weekend with the Southern Intercollegiate Rowing Association championships in Oak Ridge, Tenn.
- Jim Nasella