Competing against a 24-team field that was almost exclusively Division I entries, the Hobart College novice eight finished second in the third level final of the Freshman Eights to place 14th in the nation at the Intercollegiate Rowing Association Championships. The Statesmen crew matched the sweltering heat of the day with a scorching time of 5 minutes, 55.456 seconds over the 2,000-meter course. “This group will go down in Hobart rowing history as the fastest freshmen eight with the highest placing at ECACs and more importantly at IRAs,” says Head Coach Mike Alton. “The future is bright for us. Assistant Coach Michael Hoepp and I could not be more proud of the hard work and determination this group has shown all year and specifically this weekend.” In Saturday’s third level final, Hobart was able to seize the lead for a brief time during the first 500 meters. The Statesmen drifted as far back as fifth place through the middle 1,000 meters, but almost walked through the entire field down the stretch to take second place. Gonzaga was the only crew to best Hobart, finishing 1.543 second ahead. The Statesmen, who trailed Cornell and Dartmouth in Friday’s semifinal, edged the Big Red by less than four tenths of a second and topped the Big Green by more than three seconds. Georgetown and Columbia placed fifth and sixth, respectively. Hobart’s novice eight was powered by first-years coxswain Reynoldo Kelly (Salisbury School/Bronx, N.Y.), stroke Max Swagler (Fairport/Fairport, N.Y.), Andrew Cobb (St. Mark’s School/New Haven, Conn.), David Roberts (Walt Whitman/Cabin John, Md.), Pierce Hewes (Tower Hill School/Kennett Square, Pa.), Jack Trimble (Westfield/Westfield, N.J.), David Grossman (Fairfield Prep/Norwalk, Conn.), Jamie Hollyday (Fairfield Prep/Norwalk, Conn.), and Bob Taylor (Bishop Eustace Prep/Merchantville, N.J.). Saturday’s historic run was set up by a strong effort in Friday’s C/D semifinals. The Statesmen needed to finish in the top three of their semifinal to earn a spot in the third level final. The season would be over if they finished fourth or lower. With Cornell and Dartmouth across the finish line first and second, respectively, Hobart was left to battle for the final spot in the finals with Delaware, Michigan, and Boston University. The Statesmen left no doubt who belonged in Saturday’s field, crossing the line in 6:00.786, nearly four seconds ahead of the fourth place Blue Hens. Hobart’s blistering semifinal pace stood as the fastest by a Statesmen first-year crew, if only for a few hours.