Men's crew begins its season in strong fashion

    The UCSD men’s crew team gathered at Tecolote Shores of Mission Bay for its first dual meet of the 2003 season on March 2. Four boats were entered in the race: a varsity eight, novice eight and two novice fours. The Tritons swept the meet against UC Irvine and UC Santa Barbara, winning each event.

    “”It is difficult to get prepared for an early season race because you don’t know what to expect out of each boat, but this was a great race for early in the season,”” said UCSD head coach Michael Filippone.

    The meet began with the novice four race at 8:35 a.m.

    “”We usually race two novice eights, but we felt it would be more beneficial to race novice fours because UCI seeded a novice four,”” said Triton assistant coach David Mac.

    The second novice eight was split into a lightweight four, composed of men under 160 pounds (Vince Davies, Landen Hawke, Thomas Garcia, Deven Gaffney and Zack Mosenan coxing), and an openweight four (Scott Toepfer, Ben Wang, Terral Ayson-Beanum, Will Stuart and coxswain Kevin Williams). To the surprise of the coaches, the lightweight boat was able to overcome UCI, and the openweight boat won the 2,000-meter race with a time of 7:32.

    The first novice eight beat Irvine by 7.28 seconds.

    “”I saw them at the 1,000, where we had one to two seats, but we continued to pull ahead,”” said Adam Holmze, who rowed at the stroke seat of UCSD’s novice eight.

    The rest of the novice eight boat was composed of Spencer Chen, Zach Grounds, Denard Fobbs, Klint Wayland, Mitch DeGeus, Steven Oliver, Todd Meyer and coxswain Alicia Zupick.

    The heart and soul of the men’s crew, however, is the varsity eight.

    “”We have a lot of senior leadership in the boat, including captain Scott Destafney,”” Filippone said.

    Eric Kuhle, Destafney, Eric Hardeman, Robert Babcock, David Breslaur, Leo Shook, Matt Crow, Dan Toth and coxswain Shannon Oliver worked together to get a winning time of 6:22 for the 2,000-meter race.

    “”UCI has a new coach, and their varsity eight was the fastest we have seen in a while,”” Filippone said.

    UCSD, which was behind for the first 1,000 meters, was still able to pull ahead at the dog-leg and continued to gain seats consistently throughout the race.

    The team’s goal is to reach its peak strength and condition in time for the Western Intercollegiate Rowing Association Championships so that the varsity eight can qualify to compete at the Avaya Championships in Princeton, N.J., in early May.

    The team has another dual meet against Long Beach State next weekend at Mission Bay.

    “”There are five more weeks until our big meets begin. To be performing this well early on shows promise for speed throughout the year,”” Filippone said.

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