Murphy Cup



Kingston, RI.
This past Saturday, Rhody sent the First and Second Varsity eights to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 36th Annual Murphy Cup Regatta. It was the teams first sprint race of the season, and for the novice members of the 2V, it was their first on water 2000 meter race ever.

Coach Bob Gillette addressing the V8 and 2V8 before their practice row


The Second Varsity Eight raced first with their heat being slightly before noontime Saturday. The boat of Ian Wyllie, Will Bernard, Brendan Maymon, Noah Key, John Searles, Cameron LaFreniere, Dante Procopio, John Mannion, and coxswain Sydney Pellerin raced in the first of three heats against tough crews from Temple, Drexel, and Lehigh. The crew, more than half of which are novice, fought hard against a slight headwind (and a little wake from referee launches heading back to the start), to place third in their heat with a time of 6 minutes 18.43 seconds. Unfortunately only the top two crews from each heat advanced to the “A” final, but they secured a preferred lane for the “B” final.

2V8 launching from the dock for their practice row. (Bow to Stern) John Mannion, Dante Procopio, Cameron LaFreniere, John Searles, Noah Key, Brendan Maymon, Will Bernard, Ian Wyllie, Sydney Pellerin.

About 90 minutes later, the First Varsity 8 of Steve O’Brien, Colin Moulton, Carl Neff, Nick Soucy, James Malebranche, Joe Martinez, Grady Bolan, Matt Leal and coxswain Max Fullmer, with the new Vespoli 8, took to the Schuylkill for their heat. Placed in the second of three heats, the V8 had their work cut out for them as they were in the outside lane racing some big programs in Michigan, St. Joseph’s, Army, and Lasalle. By the time the race rolled around the headwind had picked up significantly but little old Rhody fought to an exciting third place finish over Michigan. The Rams were even with the Wolverines for the first 750 meters until Michigan pulled about four seats ahead. Still down by three seats in the last 200 meters Rhody put on a huge sprint to nip Michigan at the line. Unfortunately, like the Second Varsity 8 heats, only the top two crews from each heat advance to the “A” final but the crew secured a good lane for the “B” final. Their time in the heats was 6 minutes 27.13 seconds.

V8 walking down to the dock for the heats


In the Second Varsity 8 “B” final, Rhody faced crews from Army, Lehigh, UNC, Lasalle, and Villanova. By this point in the day the headwind had picked up yet again and showed no signs of letting up. After a mishap in the first 500 meters the crew recovered and got back in the race to place 4th, with UNC barely holding off the hard charging Rams by .24 seconds. Their time of 7 minutes 4.20 seconds was a clear indicator of how strong the headwind was and how choppy the water had become.

2V8 pushing hard through the headwind in their final

The First Varsity Eight took to their “B” final against crews from UNC, Michigan, Colgate, Lehigh, and Delaware. The race started out even but Rhody fell victim to the conditions and was getting knocked around finding themselves once again in a battle for third with Michigan. About two seats down from the Wolverines the whole way, the crew once again mounted their big sprint but this time Michigan managed to narrowly hold them off. The crew’s time was 6 minutes 45.10 seconds.

Tight racing for the V8 in their final

This weekend was a good test for the team. The scheduling between heat and final was similar to that of the New England Championships later this spring and it was important to see how the boats would be able to handle it. It was also good to see how our little club team stacked up against both fully funded varsity programs and some bigger ACRA schools such as Michigan, UVA, Delaware, and UNC.

The teams next outing will be next weekend in a duel against Boston College. A larger contingent consisting of three 8’s and a 4+ will be making the trip up to Boston for the competition.
Go Rhody!


Date Season
March 31, 2018 2017-2018


Schuylkill River
2200 Kelly Dr, Philadelphia, PA 19129, USA