BU rowing teams continue trophy hunt | BU Today

Lightweight women, men’s row to IRA regatta, women’s row to NCAA championship

varsity rowing

Lightweight women, men’s row to IRA regatta, women’s row to NCAA championship

“The beauty of rowing is that there is no defense like other sports. There are no people trying to stop you from scoring. You get to show what you’ve got, how hard you’ve worked and what a strong and resilient team you are,” said Malcolm Doldron, head coach of women’s lightweight rowing. Photo by BU Athletics

The start is over, and 19 of Boston University’s 22 varsity athletic programs are out of contention for the summer — but there are still a few more titles to contend for. BU’s three rowing teams will be in action for the final events of the spring calendar over the next two weeks.

The Patriot League Champion BU women’s rowing team will compete in the NCAA Division I Rowing Championship May 27-29 in Florida, and the women’s lightweight and men’s rowing teams will compete in the Intercollegiate Rowing Association’s National Championship Regatta ( IRA) in New Jersey June 2-5.

For the women’s rowing team, it’s the first trip to the NCAAs since 2014, when BU won its first Patriot League title. Madeline Davis Tully, head coach sophomore and 2022 Patriot League Women’s Rowing Coach of the Year, says she’s glad the program is back at the top of the conference.

“We had a great group of athletes on the team, especially the seniors, who were really committed to that goal, specifically winning the Patriot League title and putting BU back in that position,” she says. “Seeing this come to fruition for this group in particular has been really rewarding and fun because they put so much of their heart and soul into making this project a reality.”

BU’s championship result on May 13 included all three Terrier boats. The second varsity eight took gold and the varsity eight and varsity four both took second place, earning BU 50 points to beat Bucknell’s 48 points and six-time defending champion Navy’s 46.

Bianca Saffirio (CAS’24) rowed from the bow position for the varsity 8 boat that sealed the title with a second place finish, crossing the line between Bucknell and Navy by just a matter of seconds. As exciting as the race was, Saffirio says she was completely focused on her own performance.

“Once I started looking around, I just got distracted,” she says. “When I see that we are ahead, I get too excited. When I see what we’ve got behind us, I get too scared. I didn’t want to find that out until I reached the finish line.”

The BU women’s rowing team won its second Patriot League championship on May 13 in Cherry Hill, NJ – its first since 2014. Photo courtesy BU Athletics

Saffirio was named to the All-Patriot League First Team on May 19 along with teammate Lexi Wright (CAS’22). Coxswain Mia Ball (CAS’22) was named to the second team in the All-Patriot League along with Kat Robbins (CAS’23).

Davis Tully says everyone contributed to the win: “The whole team really contributed and pushed the top three boats to put on such a performance. It was an absolute team effort.”

“We’ve seen improvements week after week,” adds Saffirio, “and it’s been so rewarding.”

The team-first mentality is also reflected in the women’s lightweight rowing program. Through the ups and downs of a competitive schedule that began Oct. 9 at the Head of the Housatonic, head coach Malcolm Doldron says he’s proud of how his group has handled the year.

“I really feel like this is probably the most resilient group I’ve ever coached,” he says. “You have to face challenges, not run away from them. They really, really did everything we’ve been through this year.”

The team’s springtime was highlighted by a win at Boston College on March 26, two Knecht Cup wins on April 10, and the team’s fifth straight Beanpot win over Harvard and MIT on April 16. Doldron says the final event of the season and the stage presented at this elite regatta is something special.

“The IRA is the culmination of a whole year. For the seniors, it’s kind of the high point of the whole four years,” he says. “It’s an opportunity to compete with the best in the country. You’re essentially going up against some of the best lightweights in the world.”

For men, the Terriers broke through as a sophomore with victories over Oregon State on April 9, Brown on April 16 and Wisconsin at the Jablonic Cup on April 30 to be a top-10 team in the IRA regatta of the country.

“I think in the last three or four weeks the work that we’ve been doing all year since we came back in September has really started now,” says Bohrer.

At the same time, the manager says this weekend can be a springboard for his side’s future.

“The experience they’re having now kind of prepares us for next year,” he says. “I’m quite pleased with the development of these underclassmen and when you see the progress we’re making it’s encouraging.”

In the short term, Davis Tully can speak for all teams by saying she’s excited to see her roster row alongside the nation’s top programs this weekend.

“Our goal is to do our fastest races of the year at the end of the year on the biggest stage,” she says. “It’s our chance to see the top competition from across the country and also to go up against some of the rivals that we’ve already seen and get another chance to see how we stack up against them.”

Find out more about BU’s three rowing teams and their upcoming competitions on GoTerriers.com and on Twitter via @TerrierWROW, @TerrierMROW and @terrier130row.

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