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Wildcats Dig in at Midwest Championship

By Connor Walters '09, 05/17/17, 10:30AM EDT


Team earns six medals, will send three crews to national championship

ZANESVILLE—Every Mother’s Day weekend, Saint Ignatius Crew descends upon Lake Dillon to race against the fastest teams in the Midwest. The team left the Midwest Scholastic Rowing Championship on Sunday sure of the fact that Head Coach Pat Connor’s Wildcats remain one of the region’s quickest teams—and also one of its deepest.

At the regatta on Saturday and Sunday, the Wildcat Navy claimed gold medals in the Junior 8 and 2nd Varsity 4; silver medals in the Lightweight 8 and Varsity 4; and bronze medals in the Varsity 8 and Junior 4. These results, which include points scored in 13 Grand Finals, placed the team second in boys’ points behind New Trier.

It was a result that required nearly every boat to race well on Saturday in order to qualify for Sunday’s finals.

Out of the 17 crews Saint Ignatius sent to compete, 14 finished among the top six times in their preliminary races on Saturday. Strong performances across the board highlighted the progress the team has made since taking to the water in late March.

Then, on Sunday, six crews made their way to the medal stand.

First on the day, the Varsity 4—seeded 4th in their final—dueled with St. Edward all the way down the racecourse before the all-senior crew secured a silver medal.

Next, the 2nd Varsity 4 rode its top seed to a nearly 6-second victory, earning one last Midwest gold for the five seniors in the boat.

The Junior 8, which had the fastest time in preliminary races by 8 seconds, also clinched a gold medal, beating Loyola Academy by about 4 seconds.

In the Junior 4, the crew had its hands full and traded places among the contenders as it rowed down the course. When the finish horn sounded, the Wildcats had earned a bronze.

Near the end of the day, the final-only Lightweight 8 event saw the Saint Ignatius entry (one of the lightest in program history) assert their aggressiveness. Although they could not catch New Trier, they outpaced the rest of the field by 14 seconds to take home silver.

The day’s final event, the Varsity 8, was as thrilling as they come. The Wildcats entered the Grand Final seeded 4th in a race that was hard to predict. Although the crew fell behind early on, they surged and attacked their way down the 1,500m course, picking off rival Pittsburgh Central Catholic and Loyola.

As the Wildcats entered the last 200m, down by about half a boat to Upper Arlington, they picked off seat after seat and willed themselves across the finish line. Their result was a hard-earned bronze by 0.16 over the Golden Bears.

For most of the team, the regatta concluded their racing for the school year, which began in late August. Yet three crews will continue training for the chance to claim a national championship in Camden, New Jersey, on May 27.

Saint Ignatius will race a Varsity 8, Junior 8 and Lightweight 8 at the SRAA National Championships. For results and updates, please follow the team @sihsrowing on Twitter and Instagram.

Let’s Go Cats!