Through a balanced effort that required the success of every boat on the team, Saint Ignatius Crew won the Boys Team Points Trophy at the Midwest Scholastic Rowing Championship on Sunday, May 13. The achievement is the 10th in the history of the Wildcat Navy and first since 2011.
Strong performances from the novice team, coupled with gritty performances across the varsity, earned the squad 149 points, defeating three-time defending champion New Trier by 10 points.
Saint Ignatius won its lone gold medal in the Novice Lightweight 4, but added four silvers in the Junior 8, Novice 8, Novice 4 and 2nd Varsity 4. The team also secured bronze medals in the Freshman 8, Lightweight 8 and Third Varsity 8.
Head Coach Pat Connor ’94 and his staff deserve credit for developing a deep team that is in contention for victories in every event entered—beginning with the Varsity 8 and working on down. Winning the team points trophy is a difficult achievement and in today’s era must be done by focusing on the 8-man events, which are worth the most points. The Wildcats also annually enter additional events, like the 4+ and 2x categories, which means that most rowers double-up in races throughout the two-day regatta.
The Wildcats entered Sunday’s finals with the most crews still in contention, 12, and needed a strong performance from each one to secure enough points. Eight of those boats walked away with a medal.
Over the years, Coach Connor has tried to mold a team that views the Midwest Championship as a very important stepping stone on the way to something even bigger: the SRAA National Championships. Since he took the helm in Fall of 2011, Saint Ignatius has fielded more crews each year at nationals, especially in the Varsity 8.
While the rowers and coaches will (and should) celebrate this team-wide achievement, they do so knowing that there is more racing yet to come. In the week ahead, the team will prepare to take the Freshman 8, Junior 8 and Lightweight 8 to nationals, which are set for May 25 and 26 in Camden, New Jersey.
But that business can be left until tomorrow. Today, Saint Ignatius Crew are the Midwest Champions once again.