Navy upends rowers again

The GW crew teams could not defend the Potomac at the 17th annual GW Invitational Saturday, finishing fifth in the 12-team field, down from last year’s second-place finish.

For the third straight year, the U.S. Naval Academy won the team point title by taking four first-place, one second-place and two third-place finishes. The Midshipmen scored 65 points, 20 more than second-place St. Joseph’s.

“It was a disappointment for us,” GW senior Joe Richards said. “We did not do as well as last year. It was also tough because we lost to Georgetown, and you want to beat them every time you face them.”

The Hoyas finished in third place with 36 points. The rivalry has been alive and well during the last few years, senior Evan Johnson said.

“It’s been built up in the past few years,” he said. “That’s why it’s tough to swallow.”

With three races to go on the year, Richards said the Colonials need to improve to end the season strong.

“We didn’t perform at the level we’re capable of performing at,” he said. “We need to improve on everything.”

The University of Tennessee women’s team won the annual Howard Wilkins Bowl, given to the fastest women’s varsity eight. The Lady Vols finished the course in a time of 6:30.9, three seconds slower than their winning time last year.

Junior Sarah Hopewell said the Colonials’ results were disappointing but not a total loss.

“Considering the crews that were invited, we did pretty well,” she said. “Tennessee is a top ranked team.”

The Navy men’s varsity eight finished the course in 5:57.6, 24.2 seconds slower than last year’s winning time, but enough to win the Oliver T. Carr Bowl, given to the fastest men’s heavyweight eight shell.

Despite not finishing in one of the top spots, many of the Colonial rowers said the GW Invitational is their favorite race of the season.

“It’s great to see a lot of support from students and other athletes,” Johnson said. “It’s always nice to sleep in your own bed the night before the race and not have to worry about loading up the boats in the morning.”

The conditions Saturday improved as the day went on, as clouds and temperatures in the 50s increased to the low 60s by the end of the day. Last year, rainy weather and choppy conditions forced race organizers to shorten the course.

“It was such a nice weekend,” Hopewell said. “It was nice to have all the alumni and lots of people watching us on the waterfront.”

Table:GW Invitational Team Standings

1. U.S. Naval Academy 65
2. St. Joseph’s 45
3. Georgetown 36
4. Tennessee 31
5. GW 28
6. Marietta 26
7. USC 24
7. Virginia 24
9. Temple 20
10. Iowa 16
11. George Mason 14
12. West Virginia 6
12. Princeton 6

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