Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Weekend Barn Burners: Oxford Brookes and Florida Tech Sprint to Victory on Both Sides of the Pond



Last weekend was jammed with great racing at the junior and collegiate levels, but look no further than these two races for some of the most exciting, and closely fought action on both sides of the Atlantic.

The above video, thanks to OBUBC's Ben Murphy, follows the Oxford Brookes first eight down the course on Sunday at the International Ghent May Regatta, which saw Brookes hold onto and eventually pass a Leander Club crew that had gotten the upper hand the day before. Fortunately for the Brookes supporters, they were able to catch up to the crews as they entered the last 100 meters of the race, and the public address announcer takes it from there, calling the crews across the finish line.



Meanwhile, in Philadelphia, the Florida Tech Panthers were squaring off with top club teams Michigan, Grand Valley, and Virginia, as well as hometown favorites Drexel at the 77th annual Aberdeen Dad Vail Regatta. The men's varsity eight final quickly separates out into two races—the race for gold, and the race for the lesser medals, with Michigan leading the way from the early stages. But Florida holds on, and, much like their OBUBC counterparts in Belgium, the Panthers manage a fantastic sprint (hitting 48s/m in the process) and just barely prevent the Wolverines from taking their second-straight varsity eight title on the Schuylkill. Below, FIT men's head coach Jim Granger gives some background and analysis of the Panthers' first varsity eight win at Dad Vails since 1988.



And, not to be overlooked is Michigan's outstanding performance across their now traditional double-championship weekend—the Wolverine men's varsity eight was not only less than a second away from a second victory in Philly, but bounced back immediately from that setback to take the top of the podium at ECACs/NICR (National Invitational Collegiate Regatta) by roughly a length over second-place Hobart College. (Also, Michigan and Hobart traded places on the podium in the men's second varsity eight, and the Wolverines again edged Hobart in the third varsity eight—lots of Statesmen and Wolverines on the awards dock on Sunday.)

This coming weekend will see much more championship racing action, as the intercollegiate conference championships will be on from coast to coast, at the Pac-12 Championships (featuring an NCAA women's field that includes four of the top seven teams in the country); the Big Ten Championships (featuring the two-time defending national champion Ohio State Buckeyes); and the Ivy League Championships and men's Eastern Sprints.

Hold onto your hats, folks.

-RR

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