FELLSMERE -- Under near perfect weather conditions on the water, Florida Tech's varsity crews powered past Jacksonville University in the dual race held at Canal 54 this afternoon. In both the V8 and 2V events, the Panthers managed to finish the course with a 13 second split over their opponent.
Getting off to a nice clean start at 45 strokes per minute, FIT's shell of coxswain Jaiden Oropallo, Jaime Rus Alba, Mata Lukoseuicius, Nikola Selakovic, Ljubo Gaveric, Woody Sandhu, Zilvinas Visockas, Phillip Machen, and Dziugas Nienius held almost a boat length lead over JU headed past the 250-meter mark. From there the Crimson and Gray settled down into a 35 cadence, as they continued to hold open water over the Dolphins.
As the crews passed the 500 mark, the Panthers extended their lead to a boat and a quarter length over the opposing shell, as they exemplified steady slides and clean catches. For the remainder of the course, Florida Tech continued to increase its margins over Jacksonville and finished the canal with a course time of 6:03.1, which was 13.3 seconds better than JU's time of 6:16.4.
In Event 2, the Panthers entered both their 2V and 3V shells, which went head-to-head with the Dolphins 2V. However, both shells managed to finish ahead of the visiting crew, as the Crimson and Gray's 2V crew of coxswain Corine Roberts Gapinski, Jacob Huffman, Jace Petrowski, Darius Wilson, Mohamed Ben Sidhom, Billy Dietrich, Cameron Butler, Christian Dossett, and Marcus Farley clocked in for a first place finish with a qualifying time of 6:16.01, while the 3V shell of Grayson Shore, Gabrial Chamberlin, Chris Field, Julius Lesauskas, Nicholas Baney, Richard Murlin, Logan Johnson, Clay Womack, and Spencer Somes finished 13:35 seconds behind them at 6:29.36.
After jumping out to an unrelinquishable lead, the Panthers 2V never looked back after the start of the race, maintaining as high as a three boat length lead over their fellow 3V crew. However, battling for the second place spot, a tightly knit race between Jacksonville's 2V and Florida Tech's 3V continued into in the final 500 meters of the course. The crews rowed well under the perfect weather conditions, showing nice puddles with very little white water as they battled neck-to-neck heading into the body of the race. Around the 500 meter-mark, FIT's 2V coxswain called a power 10 cadence, but the call went unnoticed as the Dolphins shell took a seat length lead over the Panthers 2V to jump into second place.
Continuing to maintain its second-place lead, Jacksonville held a steady stroke rate of 35 per minute, as they sat about a deck length ahead of FIT at the 1000. However, Florida Tech drew level with the crew as it crossed the last 500 meters, and eventually got the boat moving to take the second sport across the finish line.
Next, the Panthers head to the George Washington Invitational on Friday, Apr. 4. The event will be held on the Potomac River in Washington D.C. Times are still to be determined.
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