CHERRY HILL, N.J. -- The Bucknell rowing team took to the water for its first spring competition of 2018 on Sunday and turned in some good opening races at the Cooper Sprints. The Bison had three varsity eight entries on the 2,000-meter course on the Cooper River, and the day was highlighted by fourth-place finishes from the second varsity eight and third varsity eight. 

"We had a solid start to the season against some competitive programs, and it was great to see everyone out there on the course," said head coach Stephen Kish. "We are looking forward to dialing in the work these next two weeks to see where we are when we race at the Cooper River again."

The best time of the day was a 7:35.64 clocked by the second varsity eight in the early-morning heats. The Bison finished second to Navy in that heat, which qualified them for the Grand Final. Bucknell took fourth in the final in 8:06.98, which bettered Boston College and trailed Navy, Rhode Island and North Carolina. 

The third varsity eight finished fourth in 8:04.56 in the preliminary race, and again placed fourth in the final. Bucknell out-rowed West Virginia and Drexel, while placing behind North Carolina, Navy and Boston College. 

The varsity eight placed third in its heat in 7:45.20, beating West Virginia while placing behind Rhode Island and North Carolina. The Bison qualified for the Petite Final and took third behind Boston College and West Virginia.

"Overall I thought this was a good first race for us," said senior Annina Ruggirello, who rowed with the second varsity eight. "Everyone on the team was just dying to compete, and I think we fought well against some tough competitors. It's always fun to gauge where we are in comparison to other programs."

Bucknell will return to the Cooper River for the Cooper Invitational on Sunday, Apr. 8 at 7:30 a.m.

BUCKNELL LINEUPS

First Varsity 8+
Second Varsity 8+
Third Varsity 8+