Panthers Repeat as Dad Vail Varsity Eight Champions

FIT outpaces Drexel by nearly a full boat length

PHILADELPHIA, Pa. – After earning its first Dad Vail Regatta championship in 27 years by the slimmest of margins a year ago, Florida Tech took a little bit of the suspense out of the 2016 version of the legendary race, overtaking Drexel by nearly a full boat length to claim the Richard O’Brien Trophy for a second consecutive year.

The varsity eight boat of Aaron Evans, Nicola Selakovic, Matas Lukosevicius, Josep Babinac, Kevin Coyle, Andrew Konecny, Ljubomir Gavric, Phil Machen and Kristjan Markovc completed the course in 5:55.41, just under three seconds ahead of the Dragons. Temple snagged the bronze medal.

“It’s not easy to win here, there are a lot of things that can factor into the outcome here beyond what an individual can control,” said head coach Jim Granger. “We were fortunate that we ran the race under good conditions and we had a crew that understood very well what they had to do to put them in a position to be successful. I thought they executed a great race plan. They got out early, got to row from a position of command out in front of the rest of the field.

“They weren’t ever in a situation where they were in a panic mode or had to overcome a huge adversity. They were in control, could see the race unfolding behind them and I think that gave them a lot of confidence through the body of the race to finish off strong.”

The fun wasn’t over there, as the Panthers’ junior varsity eight boat of Corine Roberts, Joe Horn, Martynas Mickus, Edward Sandhu, Chris Field, Carson Green, John Puzz and Marko Milovanovic captured the silver medal. FIT came flying down the finish to close the gap against Drexel but unfortunately ran out of time, finishing in 6:30.22.

“We’ve been up here I think sixth or seventh year we have medaled in the varsity eight and I don’t think we have ever medaled in the 2V,” continued Granger. “They were seeded No. 1 and had a good year and got through the first day and a half in great shape, I think they just had a great battle with Drexel, Drexel is on their home river, I think they get to practice that course every single day and they got us a little bit in one or two spots there, the guys did a tremendous job of trying to row them back down the margin was like a deck, maybe two seats or something less than a second really.”

Earlier in the day, Batuhan Cakici placed fourth in the collegiate single semifinal with a time of 8:17.73, finishing behind boats from West Virginia, Pittsburgh and Drexel.

The Panthers will do a little celebrating and then focus their attention on the IRA National Championship, slated for June 3-5 in Mercer Lake, N.J.

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