Florida Tech Rowing Beats Out Wisconsin, Finishes 14th In The Country
By Florida Tech // June 1, 2015
BREVARD COUNTY • MELBOURNE, FLORIDA – Florida Tech solidified its place among the top 15 varsity eight crews in the country following the Panthers’ second-place finish in Sunday’s third level final of the Intercollegiate Rowing Association Championships on Mercer Lake.
To earn the No. 14 national ranking, 17th-seeded FIT outsprint No. 15 Wisconsin and No. 21 Hobart, which won Saturday’s semifinal over the Crimson and Gray.
However, the Panthers rose to the occasion when it mattered the most on Sunday.
Coxswain Aaron Evans, stroke Jose Gomez-Feria, Ernestas Zarskis, Nikola Selakovic, Joe Horn, Martynas Mickus, Andy Konecny, Phillip Machen and bow Kevin Coyle clipped the Badgers at the finish line with a time of 5:44:112 to Wisconsin’s 5:44.347.
Hobart immediately followed at 5:45.662 for fourth place. No. 18 Holy Cross and No. 14 Stanford came in fifth and sixth, while Dartmouth recorded the fastest time in the race at 5:43.054.
FIT’s win over Stanford was its second in as many days.
“This is the highest level of competition that exists in college rowing,” head coach Jim Granger said.
“There are tremendous teams here and tremendous boats in all categories. We had a goal of trying to make the ‘B’ Final and we just missed it. We rowed well in the heat Friday morning. We came back and rowed hard against Columbia in the rep. I think they got us by two seconds, but it was good racing on our part. We accomplished what we needed to do in the semi, but it was probably our worst piece of the weekend.”
“We came back and finished on a good note today, edging Wisconsin, and Dartmouth was just a few seats in front of us.”
“All in all, today was a great way for the guys to wrap up the year. It was an awesome way for Ernestas and Jose to finish their careers at FIT. It was a pretty good day for FIT Rowing,” said Granger.
This is the second straight year the varsity eight has placed among the top 15 and the third straight year it has finished among the top 18 at the IRA regatta.
“We’re really close to breaking into that top 12 group of schools,” Granger said.
“For the kids next year, the goal is to be eight or more seconds faster as opposed to six seconds faster as a boat. We need to have the type of mentality that if you want to make it to the ‘B’ Final, you should try to make the ‘A’ Final. We’re also going to look to really establish both boats in a much higher level of competitiveness next year.”
FIT’s 20th-ranked second varsity eight of coxswain Beatriz Saldana, stroke Carson Green, Vicente Aycart, Marko Milovanovic, Chris Field, Hank Walch, John Martin, Batuhan Cakici and bow Nate Hodge came in second in the fourth final.
Their time of 6:05.215 was 11 seconds faster than No. 21 Holy Cross. Drexel, which experienced breakage in a qualifying position in Saturday’s semifinal, won the final at 5:53.047.
“The 2V came out and had a pretty good regatta,” Granger said. “They’re a little undergunned from a depth standpoint, but they rowed a good race to beat Holy Cross. Drexel should have probably been in the ‘C’ Final, and they were a really fast crew for the fourth level. Credit to our kids, they came together in the last few weeks.”
The IRA Championships signal the end of the Panthers’ 2014-15 season and the careers of Gomez-Feria, Martin and Zarskis.
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