FIT Men’s Varsity Four Captures Gold at Aberdeen Dad Vail Regatta

Gold medal is crew’s third in program history and first since 1995

PHILADELPHIA (Men’s Rowing) – Florida Tech’s varsity four won its third gold medal in program history and first since 1995 Saturday afternoon at the 75th Anniversary of the Aberdeen Dad Vail Regatta on the Schuylkill River.

The Panthers won by 9.5 seconds at 6:39.17. The next closest boat was Wentworth Institute of Technology at 6:48.62. Oklahoma City, Rollins, Georgia Tech and Philadelphia came in third through sixth, in order.

Capturing gold was coxswain Jacqueline Horbert, stroke Troy Toggweiler, Alec Bertossa, Jose Gomez-Feria and bow Frank Campione.

“We knew all year we had 12 really good rowers,” head coach Jim Granger said. “We built the boats around which guys were making the boats row the best. It was evident early on that the four with that lineup was clicking. They were rowing at a very high level. They dominated SIRAs (Southern Intercollegiate Rowing Association Championships). We came up here and we didn’t have a feel for our competition because we didn’t have common opponents with the schools we raced. They handled themselves great all weekend. They dominated the final. Dr. (Anthony) Catanese said it has been 18 years since we’ve won a varsity event at the Dad Vail Regatta. Hats off to those guys for breaking that streak.”

FIT’s varsity eight, ranked No. 18 in the latest USRowing Collegiate Poll, won bronze in its event at 5:45.46. Drexel took first at 5:42.60. Michigan State edged the Panthers for second at 5:44.66. Grand Valley State, defending varsity eight champion Michigan and Virginia placed fourth through sixth, respectively.

Earning bronze was coxswain Jessica Mellinger, stroke Ernestas Zarskis, Jonas Karalius, Mindaugas Beliauskas, Martynas Mickus, Joe Horn, Plamen Ivanov, John Martin and bow CarsonGreen.

“We felt the eight had the best guys in it to achieve victory,” Granger said. “The conditions were a little rough and the shake-up in the schedule affected the boat a little more than it needed to, but they did well in the heat. I didn’t think they had a good semifinal, but they rowed a better final. Credit Drexel, they beat us early and rowed a very strong piece from start to finish. On one hand, it’s tough because we’ve medaled four years in a row, but it’s still disappointing. We wanted to win the race for the seniors and the entire program wanted it.”

FIT’s men’s varsity eight from 1988 is the last crew to win the Dad Vail Varsity Eight Championship. The crew, celebrating its 25th anniversary, was honored with a row down the course. Receiving a loud ovation was Jim Barrett, Wayne McFarlane, Andy Loeffler, Rob Mildish, Jimmy McDevitt, Scot Killen, Chris Cornell, Art Schofield and Jim Petrowski.

The Panthers will now prepare for the Intercollegiate Rowing Association (IRA) Championships, scheduled for May 31-June 2 on Lake Natoma in Gold River, Calif. This marks the first IRA race for the Panthers since the 2008-09 season.

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