Lehigh rowing's men's varsity four has the lead close to the finish line in a race in the finals of the Kerr Cup on Saturday, April 16, 2016, in Philadelphia. Three of the four boats for Lehigh made it into the finals. (Courtesy of Scott Marlowe)

Men’s varsity four wins Kerr Cup finals for Lehigh rowing

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The Lehigh Mountain Hawks men’s varsity four crew won the finals by 1.39 seconds, which came nearly three hours after they won their heat by 6.09 seconds.

This win comes off the back of several injuries and some disappointing numbers from the previous week versus Lafayette College in The River Cup.

“We were able to stay really calm and collected throughout the race,” said Kyle Schipper, who was in the men’s A boat. “We followed our coxswains calls exactly and even when boats moved us we didn’t get spooked and try to go by ourselves, we waited for him to make the call and then went.”

The entire rowing program went to the Kerr Cup on the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia. Three out of the four boats made it to the finals for the day: the men’s four boat A, along with the women’s varsity and second varsity eight. The only team that didn’t place in the finals, the men’s varsity B boat, came in fourth of five teams by 45.56 seconds.

“I think we raced pretty well,” freshman Mike Smallwood said. “We were put in the boat together on Thursday, so we did not have much time row together and gel, which was a challenge.”

Brett Ley agreed with Smallwood, saying the injuries to a few of their guys made it more difficult.

“To go out there and have a good showing, and even though it’s exciting our A boat won, I feel like as the B boat we’re always there supporting them too,” Ley said. “We’re really happy they won, and it was really exciting for us too.”

Women’s varsity eight had a time of 6:47.75 in their first heat, falling second to Fordham University by a large margin of 6.66 seconds, but still qualifying for the finals. Their time fell to 6:56.84 in the finals.

“Today was a good building day for us,” Carolyn Mazzie said. “We learned a lot in our first race, and a lot in our second race is about what we want to do better.”

Two of the women’s varsity eight threw a goal split, time per 500 meter distance in the water, of a time in the 1:40 range for next week’s race against Rutgers University and College of the Holy Cross in New Brunswick, New Jersey.

The women’s second varsity eight came in third in their first heat with a time 7:16.68 and qualified for the finals in their division. The team did suffer a loss in the final heat, coming in last in the finals with a time of 7:10.06.

“We definitely want to get our time below seven minutes at some point this season,” sophomore Vita Vovk said. “We still have a lot of cleaning up to do. We need to work on our timing and quick catches.”

Vovk added that the team was moving as a cohesive unit instead of eight individuals, which was a step forward. Sophomore Jessica Rivera-Rincon agreed.

“We lean on the person in front of us just to make sure every individual’s power translates to a boat speed,” said Riviera-Rincon.

The Mountain Hawks row again against Holy Cross and Rutgers on the Raritan River on Saturday.

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