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Beavers Row Through Miami Furricans in Training Races

By Karl Richter
Team Member

The heavyweight and lightweight men's crews concluded their two-week winter training trip to southern Florida with a sweep of the University of Miami at the Miami Invitational Regatta on Jan. 17. In five races between the MIT heavyweights, the MIT lightweights, and the University of Miami on an 800-meter course in Miami Beach, the Beavers held the Hurricanes to five last place finishes.

The MIT heavyweights won the Varsity Four, the Varsity Eight, and the Freshmen Eight events, while the lightweights took the Junior Varsity Four event. A combined boat of heavyweight and lightweight MIT freshmen was able to defeat the University of Miami in the Junior Varsity Eight event.

"I thought these were gratifying races because they demonstrated our success at improving the areas we had been working on the whole two weeks [of the training trip]. They were the difference in our performance," said Varsity Coach Gordon Hamilton.

In the Varsity Four race, the first contest of the day, the heavyweights (2:33.1) steadily pulled away from the lightweights (2:35.3) and Miami (2:42.6) to win the race with a controlled rhythm and cadence. Miami was able to keep pace with the two MIT fours for the first part of the race, but dropped back quickly after the 500 meter mark.

Each coach had prioritized this Varsity Four race and had entered his fastest lineup. The winning heavyweight four included Jen Lykens '99 (cox), Solar Olugebefola '99 (bow), Mike Perry '99, Bernard Asare G, and Karl Richter '99 (stroke).

Place finishes were the same in the Varsity Eight event. Despite not entering their fastest lineup for this event, the heavyweights (2:30.9) rowed aggressively to defeat the lightweights (2:34.2) and Miami (2:44.1). The heavyweight eight included Mike Dewberry '00 (bow), Eugene Vaynestein '00, Duane Dreger '99, Derek Ransom '98, Mike Salamina '00, Jeb Keiper '99, Dan Parker '99, Matt Coates '98 (stroke), and Jen Lykens '99 (cox). The Miami eight included Miami's top oarsmen, while the MIT heavyweight eight did not include the four oarsmen from the Varsity Four.

Last two years widen difference

In a similar matchup last year, when the MIT heavyweights had raced their strongest Varsity Eight, the Beavers trounced the Hurricanes by 19 seconds. That result, combined with this year's 13 second victory from a mixed lineup, shows the speed difference that has emerged between these two programs in the last two years. Before 1996, the annual Varsity Eight race with the Hurricanes had never been decided by more than 2 seconds.

In the Freshmen Eight race, the young heavyweight Beavers (2:30.4) nipped the more experienced MIT freshmen lightweights (2:31.9) and dominated Miami (2:47.0). The winning eight included Demian Brosnan '01 (bow), Joe Lewis '01, Mike Mills '01, Roman Luz '01, Andy Copeland '01, Mark Jhon '01, Chris Penny '01, Jim Morash '01 (stroke), and Christina Carvey '99 (cox).

"We have definitely improved as a team, in working together and getting a feel for rowing together, and in our interest in rowing well with enthusiasm,"Morash said.

The crews will surface next at the CRASH-B World Indoor Rowing Championships in Boston on Sunday, Feb. 22, where the Beavers will be compete against the best collegiate and international athletes in a 2000-meter ergometer (indoor rowing machine) event.

The spring racing season opens for the Heavyweights against Columbia University on Apr. 4 at MIT's home course on the Charles River.