Men's crew team holds its own at championships

    The UCSD men’s varsity and novice crews headed up to Sacramento for the last races of the season at the Pacific Coast Rowing Championships on May 17 and the Pac-10 Championships on May 18.

    Courtesy of Scott Destafney
    UCSD men’s crew

    Shannon Oliver coxed the Triton varsity four, which was rowed by Erik Kuhle, Scott Destafney, Dan Toth and Leo Shook. At the PCRC races, they beat all Western Intercollegiate Rowing Association and all Division I and II schools, except UC Berkeley, to place second out of eight schools. They finished two seconds behind Cal and 13 seconds ahead of the third-place crew after demolishing the competition in the heat earlier in the day.

    “”This was an incredible race, and losing to Cal with several national-team athletes in their boat showed that UCSD has Division I speed,”” said UCSD head coach Michael Filippone.

    Later, at the Pac-10, the same varsity four was the only non-Pac-10 team to medal all day, coming in third place, losing only to University of Washington and Berkeley.

    “”UCSD has incredible varsity four and coming in third to Cal and Washington, two of the fastest varsity fours in the country, indicated that UCSD can row with any varsity four in the country,”” said Washington head coach Colin Sykes.

    The men’s novice eight also had a successful weekend, beating some of the varsity crews. UCSD’s eight of Alicia Zupic, Adam Homze, Spencer Chen, Zack Ground, Mitch Degeus, Clint Wayland, Todd Meyr, Steven Oliver and Scott Toepfer completed the 2,000 meters in just 6:30, coming in sixth overall.

    At the PCRCs, UCSD raced the novice four with Zupic, Myer, Wayland, Toepfer and Oliver. They were able to overcome WIRA Champion SDSU, but lost to Cal and UCLA, earning the bronze medal for the Tritons.

    “”This was the bow four of our novice eight and they showed they can beat Cal [in the heat] and clearly beat WIRA champ San Diego State,”” Filippone said.

    The men’s lightweight four also bettered their finish at the May 4 WIRAs. Zach Moresman, Ben Wang, Vince Davies, Landon Hawke and Terral Aval-Benson brought the silver back to San Diego, narrowly losing to UC Berkeley.

    “”I wanted to race the best athletes as much as possible and put them on the line and see what would happen against the best on the west coast,”” Filippone said. “”We brought our top varsity and novice oarsmen and put them on the line and each time they were incredible.””

    The varsity eight at the Pac-10s reflects the coach’s philosophy of combining oarsmen of different levels. The boat was comprised of team members Oliver, Kuhle, Destafney, Toth, Shook, Ground, Degeus, Homze and Chen. Homze and Chen are both varsity and novice athletes.

    “”This was the fastest the v-eight has gone all year, and it is incredible to consider that each of the athletes had already raced four our five times. We beat crews that we had been unable to beat all year with five novices in the boat. Most impressive is the fact that the v-eight was 10 seconds faster in a completely new lineup. Mixing up the lineups showed the depth of the UCSD program,”” Filippone said about the varsity eight.

    Regarding a long season with injuries and eventual success, Filippone expressed his sentiments.

    “”I love coaching racers and these guys represented UCSD so well. In every race this weekend, they went faster and rowed better than they ever had before,”” Filippone said.

    Women’s crew left out of NCAAs

    The National Collegiate Athletic Association made selections May 20 for the Division II Women’s Rowing Championships, which will be held May 30 through June 1 in Indianapolis. The Tritons, who were hoping for an at-large bid, were not chosen. The committee instead selected Rollins College and Humboldt State as the two at-large teams to compete at the national championships. The other teams that will be in Indianapolis will be UC Davis, Florida Institute of Technology, Mercyhurst College and Western Washington.

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