Dolphins Return to First Coast with Four Gold Medals from FIRA Championship

Dolphins Return to First Coast with Four Gold Medals from FIRA Championship

SARASOTA, Fla. – The Jacksonville University men's rowing program is bringing five gold medals back to the First Coast. The Dolphins claimed four out of five races Saturday highlighted by the Varsity Eight crews dominating performance. 

"We had a solid weekend of racing in Sarasota," said Head Coach Marci Robles. "I'm incredibly proud of our team's effort. The goal for each boat was execute a strong race plan from start to finish, and they did just that."

"I'm especially proud of our two varsity eights. The 2V was scheduled to race in its own event but after a late scratch from another crew in that race, we were able to get them into the Varsity 8 race and they handled that wonderfully, beating a couple of varsity crews. The Varsity 8 had a gutsy piece and was able to maintain composure and patience in response to a strong charge from Georgia Tech in the last 500 meters." 

JU posted the No. 1 times with its Varsity Eight, Junior Varsity Four, Freshmen Four and Varsity Four "B". Though just shy of hoisting the men's point trophy, the Fins joined the women's program at the award's podium as co-owners of the overall point trophy.

At 8:30 a.m. in the first event of the day, the Dolphins launched a pair of boats in the V8 race with one of them claiming the event victory in 6:10.1. Georgia Tech raced in 1.9 seconds behind JU's Varsity Eight crew and Rollins, GT's Lightweight and JU's JV8 rounded out the top five. The Dolphin JV crew finished with a time of 6:25.

V8 Lineup: Cox- Stephen McDonald; Stroke – Zachary Kelso; 7 - Scott Waitley; 6 - Scott Marx; 5- Nathan Esterline; 4 - Luke Myhree; 3 - Luciano Mercenari: 2 - Victor Gargaun; Bow - Shane Barnett

JV8 Lineup: Cox – Alexander Tate; Stroke - Chris Nichols; 7 - Travis Pulliam; 6 - Erik Fournier; 5 - Andrew Bechtold; 4 – Ryan Chase Rowe; 3 - Alexander DeLong; 2 - William Vanneck; Bow - Zachary McKenna

JU's Junior Varsity Four continued to pace the program's winning ways. At the 250-meter mark, the Dolphins were met with open water and eventually clocked in at 7:10.5 before GT and Rollins.

JV4 Lineup: Cox - Alex Tate; Stroke - Ryan Chase Rowe; 3 - Andrew Bechtold; 2 - Will Vanneck; Bow - Alex DeLong

In Friday's preliminary races, the F4 represented Jacksonville with a first-place time of 7:10.5. The crew received a gold medal in Saturday's final, completing its heat a second faster than it did the day before.

F4 Lineup: Cox - Xavier Mendez Jr.; Stroke - Zachary Kelso; 3 - Luciano Mercenari; 2 - Christopher Nichols; Bow - Zachary McKenna

The Dolphins were the early leader in the Varsity Four "B" race. There was an even spread between the first three boats heading into the last 500 meters and Jacksonville sprinted out the course setting the top time in 7:08.3. Rollins came in at second with a time of 7:18.0 while GT finished in 7:29.

V4B Lineup: Cox - Stephen McDonald; Stroke - Victor Gargaun; 3 - Nathan Esterline; 2 - Erik Fournier; Bow - Travis Pulliam

Georgia Tech spoiled Jacksonville's undefeated performance in the men's final race of the day. It was a hard fought V4 battle but the Yellow Jackets maintained their advantage to win with a time of 6:45.0, nearly 9.8 seconds before the Fins.

V4 Lineup: Cox - Alex Tate; Stroke - Scott Waitley; 3 - Luke Myhree; 2 - Shane Barnett; Bow - Scott Marx

"We're looking forward to getting back to work. We'll be facing several very fast crews at SIRAs and will be working hard over the next two weeks to fine tune our rowing and find more speed."

Jacksonville resumes racing Saturday, April 18 at the SIRA Championship. 


Varsity Eight
1) JU - 6:10.1
2) Georgia Tech – 6:12.0
3) Rollins – 6:17.0
4) Georgia Tech Lightweight – 6:21.0
5) JU JV – 6:25.0
6) Florida – 6:36.0
7) Florida State – 6:43.0
8) CFR – 6:45

Junior Varsity Four
1) JU – 7:10.5
2) Georgia Tech – 7:27
3) Rollins – 7:33

Freshmen/Novice Four
1) JU – 7:09.5
2) Rollins – 7:17
3) CFR – 7:24
4) Georgia Tech – 7:31
5) Florida – 7:38
6) Florida State – 7:40
7) Embry-Riddle – 8:11
8) Stetson – 8:29

Varsity Four "B"
1) JU – 7:08.3
2) Rollins – 7:18
3) Georgia Tech – 7:29

Varsity Four
1) Georgia Tech – 6:45.0
2) JU – 6:54
3) Rollins – 7:03
4) Florida – 7:10
5) Florida State – 7:15
6) CFR – 7:30
7) Embry-Riddle -7:55