WORCESTER, Massachusetts - The Marist Men's Rowing Team traveled to Worcester, MA to attend the National Invitational Rowing Championships (NIRC), this past Friday, May 12th. This large championship regatta marks the close of the regular season for many of the regions rowing teams and serves as a team qualifier for the IRA National Championships. The Red Foxes fielded 3 boats, the varsity 8, 2nd varsity 8 and freshman 8. Coming off a disappointing result in 2016, the Red Foxes made this event a major goal in 2017 and the results did not disappoint.

Freshman 8: With only 5 boats in the freshman category, the Marist freshman were scheduled to row in a straight final around mid-day. The Red Foxes had a fantastic jump off the line however one of their competitors called breakage within the first 100m of the race and the boats were called back for a re-start. The Red Foxes had a somewhat sloppier second start but got off the line in the middle of the pack with Boston College, RIT, Williams, and Tufts. The Marist boat raced down the course in close contention with the trailing pack including the Tufts team. With 500m to go, the Red Foxes unleashed a furious sprint. Going from 5 seats down, the freshman fought back hard through the closing meters of the race course just missing the Tufts boat by 0.7 of a second and a photo finish. The freshman placed 5th with a time of 6:19.83. The Freshman 8 consisted of Ari Streeter (Cox), Carter Schuh (Stroke), Chris Rechen (7), Brandon Leyva (6), Noah Fay (5), Tim McQuade (4), Campbell Lang (3), Pat Sullivan (2), Ryan Sullivan (Bow).

2nd Varsity: The 2V8 came to the NIRC off of several weeks of strong race results and with all 5 members of our senior class on board. Their day started with an early heat against Bates, WPI, Trinity, and Colby. The 2V made a quick start off the line putting themselves in the leading pack off the start line and pushing top seeded Bates. The Red Foxes charged down the course neck and neck with Bates and WPI. with 500m to go, WPI began to move up on both Marist and Bates. Both teams fought back hard and in the final meters broke back into the lead. The Red Foxes finished a very tight 2nd, 1 second behind Bates and 1 second ahead of WPI to earn a spot in the Grand Final for the first time since 2014. In the afternoon, the 2V faced off with Hobart, Bates, Coast Guard, Tufts, and Wesleyan. The 2V had another quick start but was unable to match the speed of some of the top crews in the 2nd 500m. The Red Foxes started an early sprint going hard after the Coast Guard Team next to them in 3rd and walked back into close contention. By the finish line the two boats were going stroke for stroke in a dead heat. The 2V ultimately fell by 0.7 of a second to take 4th overall behind Hobart, Bates, and CG and ahead of Tufts and Wesleyan. The 2V8 consisted of Dylan Galimi (Cox), Tom Basso (Stroke), Christian Wiles-Lafayette (7), Jack Brown (6), Dave Warner (5), Marten Martensson (4), Sam Klamar (3), Ryan Miller (2), Tom Roach (Bow).

1st Varsity: The 1V8 is the main event for the NIRC and the boat that determines qualification for the IRA. Marist arrived at the event with a strong crew which showed very good potential in 2017 but had struggled in some key races during the regular season. The Red Foxes were seeded in 9th and began the day with an extremely difficult heat against WPI who had won the New England Rowing Championships the previous weekend and Bucknell who had strong races against other top crews throughout the year (as well as Hamilton, Ithaca, and Boston College). The Marist boat had been working hard on their starting strokes over the past weeks and this work paid off clearly. The 1V8 blasted off the line in close contention with WPI and Bucknell. As they entered the 2nd 500m, the Marist boat made a big move to attack the other two teams and move into the lead. By the 1000m mark, the Red Foxes were nearly 4 seats ahead of the competition. Bucknell and WPI fought back hard in the 3rd 500m and with 400m to go, all 3 boats were in a dead heat. With 200m left, the Red Foxes hit their final spring and blasted across the finish line with all 3 boats making a photo finish. The final result was a close win for Marist to make their way into the Grand Final for the first time since 2013. In the afternoon, Marist faced off for the grand final with Hobart, Bates, WPI, Williams, and Tufts. The Marist 8 had a clean start but was unable to match the rapid opening moves of some of the other schools. By the mid-way point, Hobart and Bates had opened an open water lead on the pack with WPI fighting to stay with them. Hobart continued to draw away pulling Bates with them and eventually spreading out the field. Marist closed with the other team at the finish with less than 3 seconds separating them from nearly all of their competitors. The Red Foxes finished a close 5th to Williams and beating Tufts with a time of 6:08.3. The 1V consisted of Ryan Lillis (Cox), Ray Mattingly (Stroke), Joe Kohn (7), Morgan Stippa (6), Chris Carlson (5), Matt Blaszczyk (4), Tadd Bindas (3), Chris Lazich (2), Dan Arrato (Bow).

The final finishes for the Marist crews were Freshman 8, 5th (of 5) / 2nd Varsity 8, 4th(of 15) / 1st Varsity 8, 5th (of 17). The team also placed 5th in the overall team standings. This marks the first time in the past decade that BOTH Marist 1V8 and 2V8 boats have raced to the top final at the NIRC Regatta.

"Marist entered the NIRC regatta as a long shot team for an IRA qualification but also having not demonstrated our full potential in 2017. Our team answered the call today racing with power and grit to put their program in a position they had not seen in many years. We are proud of their accomplishment and the dramatic improvement they have demonstrated since 2016. With no seniors in our varsity 8 we are very excited to have a young crew showing such good speed early in their careers and we are looking forward to their continuing development as we move closer towards our ultimate goal of IRA qualification." - Campbell Woods

Marist will next hit the water with their Varsity 4 at the IRA National Championships at Lake Natoma in Rancho Cordova, CA.