After picking up its first gold finish of the spring season at the Murphy Cup, the rowing team headed to Southern California to participate in the 43rd edition of the San Diego Crew Classic this past weekend. Fordham had not competed there since 2011 when the Fordham A squad took its heat in the Varsity 8 over the University of British Columbia, UC-Davis, Loyola and Santa Clara. This year, the Varsity 8 saw success once again when they won the Cal Cup Petite Final on April 3.
Unlike in 2011, the Varsity 8 did not win their heat. Fordham A consisted of coxswain junior Jacquelyn Ramos and sophomore stroke Maura O’Donnell, as well as rowers senior Ashley Hawkesworth, senior Fiona Murtagh, sophomore Caroline Hamann, junior Kara Ramsey, senior Jessica LaJoie, junior Kelly Leonard and freshman Erin Parker. They opened the Regatta with a third place finish at a time of 7:01.579. That time was good enough to finish past the Portland Pilots and the Purdue Boilermakers, but two seconds slower than Loyola Marymount, and four slower than the Tennessee Volunteers.
Although they did not win the heat, the third place finish was good enough for the team to qualify for the Petite Final on Sunday afternoon. The Rams were challenged by the same University of Portland boat that they surpassed by a second in the heat. The Final finish would be even closer than that, as the Rams separated themselves from the Pilots by just three tenths of a second (7:31,051) compared with (7:31,361) to bring victory home to the Bronx.
The final featured three Atlantic 10 teams, including Fordham. The George Washington Colonials finished fourth with a time of 7:34.606 and St Joseph’s finished dead last and posted a time of 7:47.909. Sacramento State and St. Mary’s were the second and third place finishers respectively.
The Rams also entered a second Varsity 8 boat in Heat C, which finished with a time of 7:24.914 — good for fifth out of six contestants. Loyola Marymount, a team that beat Fordham earlier in the day, lost by a whole three seconds in this heat. Unfortunately, the Rams and the Lions were not close to the other four boats in the race. The next best team was the British Columbia Thunderbirds, who finished an astonishing 15 seconds ahead of Fordham. The eventual victor, the hometown heroes of USC, finished the course 26 seconds faster to win the heat.
Despite the disappointing finish in their heat, the Rams were able to right their wrongs in the third final, crossing the finish line in 7:23.971 and finishing in second place behind the University of Miami Hurricanes. Fordham was able to finish ahead of San Diego State, Loyola Marymount once again, Saint Mary’s for the second time and UC San Diego, another hometown school.
The team returns to action on Saturday, April 9 at the Knecht Cup.