EDITOR'S NOTE: The following is a message e-mailed from Henley, England, by Mercyhurst Rowing Coach Adrian Spracklen on Saturday after his men's team reached the finals of the Visitors Challenge Cup. That race is Sunday. (See related stories under news release listings.)
"Well we made it. Unbelievable as it sounds. The conditions were hard going. It was a strong head wind and giving 42 pounds to each guy in the Molesley boat they were big guys. We had another good start that took us a quarter of a length lead by the quarter mile. We extended the lead to 2 lengths by fawley (about half way). It was then that Molesley started to charge and charge they did. With 300 meters to go Molesley was eating into the Mercyurst lead.
Molesley poured on the pressure and with their weight advantage clawed away at the Mercyhurst lead.
Molesley raised their rate to 42 and Mercyhurst scrapped to hold on. At the line the Lakers won by one third of a length.
Jubilant but exhausted the buzz in the crowd was: who is Mercyhurst and where did they come from? Mercyhurst has become the surprise of the regatta and is amassing a following.
Tomorrow they face local favorite Oxford University in a David and Goliath battle. This is a monumental occasion for Mercyhurst. Never in my wildest dreams did I think we would have a final like this. What an opportunity.
The race is at 2:40 p.m. GMT.(9:40 a.m. EST) It can be heard over the internet at regattaradio.co.uk "