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The Penn men's heavyweight crew team, seen here at last year's IRAs, opens its season this weekend with the Navy Day Regatta. (Leah Tulin/DP File Photo)

After a fairly disappointing spring, the Penn men's heavyweight crew team has one goal in mind as it begins its fall season -- victory. The Quakers plan on achieving this goal through intense workouts both on and off the water. As they prepare for the Navy Day race this Saturday, the Red and Blue hope to cross the finish line first on the home waters of the Schuylkill. "We know that we are the fastest crew on the Schuylkill, and we are going out this weekend to prove it and regain that title," senior captain Keith Sutter said. "We want revenge on Temple," senior commodore Doug Sieg added. The Quakers beat the Owls in all but the last race last season and are looking to reclaim total domination this year. This weekend, most rowers will race twice in small boats as well as eights. Penn's varsity eight will be comprised of rowers Sieg, Sutter, John Fife, Mike Parker, Hobey Stuart, Montana Butsch, Garrett Cameron, Tom Paradiso and coxswain John Whittaker. Five of last year's varsity athletes are returning to row this year. However, the team will miss juniors Justin Clemow and Paul Falcigno this fall as a result of injury and study abroad. Falcigno earned a bronze medal this summer in Copenhagen rowing bow seat in the Nation's Cup eight for the United States. This race is the world championship for the under-23s and pre-elites. Penn remains optimistic for the fall with a strong group of sophomores and seven returning members of the junior varsity eight. These rowers will have the opportunity to prove themselves and fight for seats in the varsity boat. "The competitiveness of the team is awesome this year," Sutter said. "We will be a boat that competes in everything from running to the boathouse in the afternoon to racing this Saturday." On the water, the Quakers are working to build endurance through distance training workouts. They also do a lot of work in small boats to fine-tune technique and intersquad racing. Off the water, they are integrating more variations into their training regime in the form of stadiums, body circuits and the 5K Philly Distance Run last month in which 15 team members participated. "Running and cross-training are two ways we push each other to new levels of strength and competition," Sutter said. The team looks to get faster and more cohesive with each practice. Under Stan Bergman, who is now in his 17th season as head rowing coach, the Red and Blue anticipate a successful season. "Coach Bergman has done a great job improving our technique," Sieg said. "Now we must go out and push ourselves to the limits and beat Temple and Navy on Saturday." Penn's novices, under Larry Connell, are also looking to prove their dominance this year. Freshman Mark Albert coxed the Junior National eight to a fourth place finish at the World Championships in Zagreb, Croatia. The Penn freshmen also have four members of the St. Joseph's Prep eight that competed in Henley over the summer. With the fall season about to begin, the Red and Blue hope to channel the progress made into success in competition. "We have a lot of talent on this year's squad," Sieg said. "Now we must focus on combining that talent of eight rowers and a coxswain into a powerful unit. We will win."

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