Florida Tech Finishes Final Regatta In Third Place At NCAA Rowing Championships
By Florida Tech // May 29, 2017
MERCER, NEW JERSEY – After a long but strong weekend, No. 6 Florida Tech concluded its final regatta of the season in a third place finish during the Grand Final of the 2017 NCAA DII Women’s Rowing Championship held on Mercer Lake.
Hitting the water bright and early this morning, the Panthers Varsity Eight set for the Grand Final against Central Oklahoma, Western Washington and Mercyhurst. The Panthers entered the competition after placing second in Heat B on Friday, followed by a Repechage on Saturday where they placed first overall.
Coming off consecutive days of rowing, with no rest, the Varsity Eight started the Grand Final problem free, as weather conditions remained perfect. The Panthers set a pace of 43 strokes per minute, keeping tight with the other crews before the 250-meter mark.
Sitting in second place, FIT chased Central Oklahoma by just three seats, and led Western Washington by three as well. After shifting around amongst the crews, Western Washington and FIT exchanged positions crossing the 500-meter mark, while Central Oklahoma maintained its lead.
Now coming on stronger in third, just 1.34 seconds off the leader, the Panthers shell of Natalia Arasa Bonavila, Morgan Billig, Federica Palla, Taylor Stoni, Theresa Gadilhe, Irina Djurovic, Graysen Pensch, Samantha Martinez, and Aurelia Gervasi tried to stay nice and controlled with their blade work to keep pace with the first and second place crews crossing the 1000.
Heading into the 1250-meter mark with half a length differential, the pack of three stayed tight, while Mercyhust fell back in open water off Florida Tech.
Past the 1250 mark with an increasing head breeze, Western Washington and FIT were rowing similar rates at 37 strokes per minute, just slightly higher than Central Oklahoma at 36. However, giving a strong chase to Western Washington, the Melbourne-based crew fell back three-quarters length during a strong charge by the Vikings.
Despite their best efforts, into the final 500-meter sprint, the Panthers were unable to impact their half a boat length chase for second and crossed the finish line in third, six seconds behind Central Oklahoma (6:58.51) and four seconds behind Western Washington (7:00.56).
No. 6 Florida Tech finished the 2000-meter course with a time of 7:04.88, ahead of fourth place Mercyhurst at 7:16.32.
“I’m very proud of the body of work put in this year from our entire team,” said head coach Adam Thorstad.
“We had a good foundation starting to be built over the last few years. This young group performed very well and fought hard until the last stroke, now we start building towards next year”.
The championship concludes the Panthers 2017 season,