Adrian Bulldogs Wrap Up Men's Rowing Fall Season in Indy

The Adrian College men's rowing team found success as a first-year program in the fall, and look forward to more when the season resumes in the spring. (Action photo by Hollie Smith)
The Adrian College men's rowing team found success as a first-year program in the fall, and look forward to more when the season resumes in the spring. (Action photo by Hollie Smith)

INDIANAPOLIS--Adrian College Men’s Rowing ended its fall season this past weekend here for the Bald Eagle Collegiate Invitational at Eagle Creek Park. This event is considered to be the toughest college-only regatta in men’s rowing in the Midwest, according to Bulldogs head coach Bart Thompson.

“This regatta is always a tough battle for each and every team,” stated Thompson. “You have Wisconsin, the only Division I varsity men’s program in the Midwest, as well as Milwaukee School of Engineering, one of only two other Division III men’s varsity programs in the region. You also have all of the best club teams—Michigan, Virginia, Notre Dame, Purdue, Grand Valley State, Minnesota, and more. I’m proud of the way our guys rose to the task.”

As with most races in the fall season the regatta was run as a “head race”, in which boats are started every 20-30 seconds in a “time trial” format. The course was listed as 4,700 meters long, just under 3 miles.

The Bulldogs’ first race of the day was the Men’s Freshmen/Novice 8+ “A” event, in which Adrian finished in seventh place. Wisconsin won the event, followed by Virginia and Michigan. The Bulldogs’ entry was comprised of Ethan Powell (coxswain), Mark Henderson, Darren Castello, Jake Witt, Michael Phillips, David Swegles, Julian Cantu-Salinas, Ryan Boyd and Alex McNamara. Adrian finished in 15 minutes and 24 seconds, with Wisconsin’s winning time being 14:11.

Thompson said: “I’m proud of our novices for how they rowed this event. They finished just behind Notre Dame, one of the very best programs in our region. Most impressively, they finished just ahead of Grand Valley State, one of our in-state rivals.”

The Men’s Pair, the next event of the day, the Adrian “A” entry of Evan Purcell and Niko Hays finished in fifth place out of the 19 entries. The Bulldogs’ time was 16:45, while the winning time from Michigan was 16:04. Adrian’s “B” entry of Lance Berry and Mitch Doyle finished in 17:32, good for 15th place.

“Our men had a very solid race here, beating a number of quality entries,” Thompson commented.  “I’m proud of these guys, as freshman, racing some of the best crews in the Midwest.”

In the Men’s Varsity 4+, the Adrian entry of Emily Cahill (coxswain), Austin Pettry, Rudy Schork, Gio Esquivel and Powell finished in 13th place.

“This was a tough row for our guys,” said Thompson. “It’s one of the toughest, deepest events in the regatta, and our guys were the first to say that they didn’t have their best row. But they learned from the event and how they need to prepare differently in the future.”

In the Men’s Novice 4+, Powell (coxswain), Boyd, Henderson, Phillips and Swegles finished in top half of the event, finishing in 12th place out of 24 entries.

“Again, the fours are always a tough event, and the guys did a wonderful job here to finish in the top half of a very tight, tough field,” emphasized Thompson. “For not having a lot of practice time in this event the boys should feel very proud.”

In the final event of the day for the Bulldogs, the Men’s Varsity 8+, Adrian’s entry of Cahill (coxswain), Purcell, Hays, Berry, Doyle, Aidan Moran, Cantu-Salinas, Chris Yaklic and Victor Thacker finished in seventh place out of the 12 entries.

Thompson was very pleased with the result, commenting, “As with all of our entries, this is essentially a freshmen crew racing against the top guys that each of our competitors has to offer. I told our boys that Wisconsin, Michigan, Virginia, Notre Dame, and Purdue would probably be the top 5 crews, but that I felt that Grand Valley State and Minnesota were teams that—if we had a great row—we could top. Well, the guys said it was their best row of the season, and we nipped Minnesota by 4.4 seconds, and we finished 0.1 seconds behind Grand Valley State. Overall it was a strong final race to close out our inaugural season.”

With the Bulldogs’ first season in program history complete, the team enters its winter indoor training season, in which they will hit the rowing machines and build their fitness in preparation for their primary season in the spring.

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