FRIDAY, APRIL 27, 2012
JU rowing teams in first-ever conference race
The JU women’s and men’s rowing teams are pioneering this weekend when they compete in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference rowing championships.

For both Dolphin teams, this is the first ever MAAC conference championship as the school just became an associate member in January.

The JU women will compete in five events including a pair of 8s, a Varsity 4, an Open 4 and a women's pair race on the 2,000-meter course at Lake Mercer in West Windsor, N.J.

The women are excited; this is the first year we’ve been in a conference championship so it means a lot,’’ rowing program director Jim Mitchell said. “Next year this will be an automatic qualifier to the NCAA championships so you have to do well in the events. This is a precursor, a practice event, for next year. ‘’

The JU men, too, are in uncharted waters this weekend.

“It’s a new adventure for us,’’ Mitchell said. “We’ve always been an independent and we’re going to go up and see if we can win our first conference.’’

Mitchell said the teams understand the significance of the event.

“They know what it means to represent JU at a conference championship and not a state or regional championship,’’ he said. “It means a lot to the administration and other students.’’

Last year's championships were cancelled due to high winds creating unsafe conditions on the water.

In 2010, the Marist College men's team finished with a total of 189 points to capture the men's title for the 13th time in school history. Loyola University Maryland finished second with 165 points. On the women's side, Loyola scored 189 total points to take home the program's fourth conference title.

Canisius, Drake, Fairfield, Iona, Manhattan, Robert Morris and Sacred Heart also are competing.