LEWISBERRY, Pa. – The Lehigh rowing team captured first place in five races while placing in five others as the Mountain Hawks won the Neuweiler Plate team trophy on Saturday. Lehigh was led by dominating first-place finishes in the Men’s Freshmen Eight, who won by 45 seconds, and the Women’s Varsity Eight, who led from start to finish.
The Men’s Freshmen Eight finished in just 6:56.70, ahead of second-place Penn State’s time of 7:41.67. Meanwhile, the Mountain Hawks won two separate Women’s Varsity Eight races, one in nearly 26 seconds and the other in just under 20.
“It was a great day for us,” said Lehigh head coach Brian Conley. “It was the first time we were able to show our speed and put together a full race from start to finish. It was also the first time that as a team - from top to bottom - we performed at our best. That leads us into the Knecht Cup, where we’ll be facing some pretty strong competition.”
Various local teams competed in the Neuweiler Plate, including Robert Morris, Franklin & Marshall and Penn State, among others. Lehigh won the Neuweiler Plate one year after archrival Lafayette took home the crown.
The Men’s Varsity Eight edged Penn State in a tight race that came down to the final seconds. The Mountain Hawks finished with a time of 6:15.80, less than two seconds ahead of the second-place time of 6:17.48. Lehigh impressed in the other races as well, including the Men’s Freshmen Four (first, 7:54.93), Women’s Freshmen Four (second, 9:08.46) and Women’s Varsity Four (second, 7:30.82), among others. In total, the Mountain Hawks took second in three races and third in two others.
The significance of winning the overall team trophy can’t be overlooked when moving forward.
“The confidence of the team went up dramatically today,” said Conley. “It showed us that not only could we compete, but we took it up a level and we’re able to win which we haven’t been able to do in a while. Going into next week’s race against stiff competition, that’s exactly what we needed (to get a win under our belts).”