April 28, 2011
2011 Mid-Atlantic Rowing Conference Championship Preview
The 2011 version of the Mid-Atlantic Rowing Conference Championship should prove to be an exciting one. All eight MARC schools will in attendance: Bryn Mawr, Franklin & Marshall, Marietta, Mary Washington, North Park, Richard Stockton, Rutgers-Camden, and Washington College. Gifford Pinchot State Park will also play host to another team this year, as Scranton will be racing as a guest and, while ineligible for the conference championship, enters the mix eyeing some hardware.
There is a new structure in place for the team championship, with only first and second varsity eight having the opportunity to earn points for their respective teams. Adding even more intrigue is the factor that F&M, Mary Washington, and the Washington College women's team all conclude their racing seasons with the MARC Championship; they are certainly coming in finely tuned and ready to go.
The first five events of the day - small boats - are really a crapshoot when it comes to predicting speed. Seat racing usually changes line-ups in these boats, and a fast crew one week will be different the next. Leading things off will be the men's pair, with Washington College and Mary Washington facing each other in a rematch of the Knecht Cup. The novice fours follow, with the F&M women coming in with some momentum after their victory over Bryn Mawr on April 16. The North Park & Scranton novice women's fours will be showcasing their talents against these other crews for the first time. The novice men's 4 could be a barn-burner. Does the edge go to Rutgers-Camden after their grand-final qualification at the Knecht Cup? Tough call. The women's varsity four sees Rutgers-Camden coming in as the favorite with their solid second place finish at the Knecht Cup, with Scranton as a complete wild card. The Scarlet Raptors may also have the edge in the men's varsity four, having medaled in their last two races.
The eights are where the trophies are won. The Washington College and F&M men are competing for the men's team trophy, so you can expect their varsity and second varsity to go "all in." The Shoremen come in with some added confidence, though, having been seeded first in the varsity eight. On the women's side, F&M, Mary Washington, North Park, and Washington College are vying for the team championship. The Shorewomen are seeded first in each event, too, but are certain to see challenges from everyone. If the Knecht Cup is an indicator, though, expect to see Marietta and Mary Washington pushing the Shorewomen for the win in the varsity eight. Straight finals in each event means that nothing will be left on the water. That's how it should be.