Lightweight Crew Finishes Runner-Up at IRA National Championship -

Lightweight Crew Finishes Runner-Up at IRA National Championship

WEST WINDSOR, N.J. – The Navy lightweight rowing team came in determined and with its eyes on the prize on Sunday at the 2022 IRA National Championship. Racing on Mercer Lake with the opportunity to repeat as the IRA National Champions for the second straight year, the Mids left it all out on the line, collecting a win in the second varsity eight class and a runner-up result in the first varsity eight. After all of the team points were tallied Navy lost a dramatic tie-breaker to Columbia in the final standings as the Lions earned the title on the basis of the better first varsity eight outcome.
“It was an outstanding weekend to be a Naval Academy Lightweight,” remarked head coach Shawn Bagnall. “The coaching staff could not be more proud of how the team prepared, raced, and handled their business at the National Championship, the 119th running of the IRA Regatta. 
“Winning the Varsity 4+ and 2nd Varsity 8+, and coming within 1.9 seconds from repeating as the 1st Varsity 8+ National Champions demonstrates the commitment of these young men to training and racing at the highest level. While the tie for the overall Team Points title was a tough outcome, we can be proud that all 60 men and women of our squad helped contribute to being the deepest team in the nation this season.”
The second varsity eight race was all about the Mids as Navy bolted out to a 1.77-second lead over the opening 500 meters and a 4.17-second advantage by the midway point of the 1,000-meter contest. Cornell moved into second place over the next quarter of action and drew within 3.37 seconds at the 1,500-meter mark. Though the Big Red put forth a concerted effort down the stretch, the Mids had a strong response and breezed across the finish line eight seats ahead with a 2.502-second margin of victory, 6:05.378 to 6:07.880. The win garnered Navy 18 points in the team point standings.
With Navy ahead of Cornell by 1.5 points and Columbia by 3.0 points, the team title still lied in the balance going into the first varsity eight grand final as the winner would be awarded 36 points, versus 33 for second place and 30 for third place. The final race of the competition for the lightweights opened with Columbia darting out to a 1.49-second lead over Georgetown by the 500-meter mark. Navy was just 0.4 seconds off of Georgetown’s time. The Mids overtook the Hoyas over the next 500 meters and moved into second place with a midway time of 2:56.310, 1.75 seconds behind the Lions. Columbia earned a bit more separation heading into the 1,500-meter checkpoint and led Navy by 2.6 seconds. A fast and fearless crew of Midshipmen made a valiant push towards the finish line over the final 500 meters of the race and clocked in with a final time of 5:58.306, only 1.958 seconds behind the victorious Lions.
That V8 victory by Columbia gave the squad the tie-breaking edge over Navy as both teams finished with 51.0 points.
“The way that this squad stayed united when the 1st Varsity 8+ was spun a little tight in the Friday heats, but came back out today in the Grand Final to finish with a silver medal was humbling to watch,” said Bagnall. “The work that Coach Sands did with selecting and molding the Varsity 4+ into a unit that could win the event against some really tough competition was nothing short of awesome. And our 2nd Varsity, who has been the heart and soul of the squad, trained with reckless abandon after the Eastern Sprints to find the speed they needed to win. It was just an honor to travel and race with these athletes this year.  
“We know that the current team stands on the shoulders of the giants that came before them, and we hope that Navy alumni everywhere can be proud of these Midshipmen and young officers. They have not limited their success to the race course, and continually commit to being the best in every phase of their lives. Our thanks to all our support staff and athletic administration that made this year possible, and we look forward to the next chapter in the program’s success. Go Navy!”

Race Results

First Varsity Eight

Second of 6 in Grand Final

Columbia – 5:56.348

Navy – 5:58.306 **Second in the nation

Georgetown – 5:58.942

Yale – 6:01.374

Cornell – 6:03.112

Princeton – 6:06.758


Second Varsity Eight

First of 7 in Grand Final

Navy – 6:05.378 **First in the nation

Cornell – 6:07.880

Columbia – 6:09.674

Yale – 6:13.108

Penn – 6:14.158

Princeton – 6:17.516

Georgetown – 6:21.106

Boat Lineups


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