MILWAUKEE – The MSOE rowing team is preparing for its sixth trip to the IRA Regatta, as the Varsity 4 will make its third appearance at the national championships Friday through Sunday at Mercer Lake in Mercer, New Jersey.
A veteran boat of seniors Robert Lancaster, Seth LiaBraaten, Chris Gloeckle, coxswain Francis Sena, and junior Jonah Meffert have given the Raiders their fastest varsity entry in program history. The Raiders proved that with their fourth-place finish at the Dad Vail Regatta May 12 in Philadelphia. In the finals of the Thomas Curran Cup, the group posted a time of 6:32.096, the fastest 2000m time in program history.
Lancaster is the lone member of the team with national experience, rowing with the last crew to row at IRAs. That Varsity 4 boat posted its best finish by taking fourth in the 3rd Final and he was a sophomore in a crew of seniors.
MSOE's Varsity 4's have also taken fourth in the 4th Final in 2015 and fifth in that final in 2014.
The Raiders have also featured three Lightweight 4 crews at the national championships in three-straight seasons from 2012-14. The program's best finishes have been by those LWT 4 boats, which rowed in the 2013 Grand Final and took second in the Petite Finals in 2012 and 2014.
The program fielded two entries for the only time in program history in 2014 when the Lightweight 4 and Varsity 4 crews made the trip.
LiaBraaten has had a standout senior campaign as he continues to get faster and faster. He's broken most of the program's machine records and has been invited to several elite training camps by USA Rowing.
Gloeckle, Meffert, and Sena round out an experienced crew with plenty of experience together. Meffert joined the lineup last season and the group has continued to grow together throughout this season. This past Dad Vail result was nearly 16 seconds better than the boat had pulled in Philadelphia a year prior.
The Raiders know their draw for the opening heat, as they will row against Wisconsin, Princeton, MIT, and Syracuse. That race will go off at 9:40 a.m. central time with the winner advancing straight to the semifinals and the other boats heading to the repechages that afternoon. The semifinals are Saturday morning, all scheduled before 10 a.m., with the four finals on Sunday morning (4th – 7:30 a.m.; 3rd – 9:40 a.m.; Petite – 8:20 a.m.; Grand – 8:30 a.m.).