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WEST WINDSOR, N.J. – The No. 19 Oregon State men’s rowing team raced twice on the opening day of the Intercollegiate Rowing Association Championships on Friday with all three crews turned in strong performances in the morning’s heat racing before posting improved times in the afternoon repechages.

“The guys had the best races of the year so far today,” coach Gabe Winkler said. “A lot of times, in this stressful environment, crews can succumb to the pressure. Each of our boats has something to build on for tomorrow’s semis. It’s to be up there with the best teams and tomorrow we’ll put it on the line again.”

Oregon State’s Varsity 8, which is powered by Neall Koetje, Baxter Call, Roman Pjajka, Jesse Maritz, Jacob Hart, Glenn Miller, Hunter Smith and Max McDonald and coxed by Ben Garrison, covered the 2,000-meter course on Lake Mercer in 6 minutes, 2.183 seconds to finish fifth in its heat behind No. 2 Yale, No. 7 Northeastern, No. 10 Stanford and No. 15 George Washington, but ahead of UC San Diego.

The Beavers’ top boat returned to the Lake Mercer waters in the afternoon to post a time of 5:50.746 to finish third in their repechage. No. 14 Wisconsin finished first (5:41.996), while No. 13 Penn was second (5:45.228).

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The Beavers’ Second Varsity 8 crossed the finish in fifth in its heat with a time of 6:11.789, with Washington, Dartmouth, Syracuse and Penn ahead, advancing to an afternoon repechage. In the rep, OSU improved its time by more than six seconds (6:05.176) pulling in second behind Cornell (6:01.715) and ahead of Bates College (6:08.011).

OSU’s Third Varsity 8 (6:27.523) outraced Florida Institute of Technology (6:36.896) in the second heat to finish fourth. The Beavers’ 3V8 shaved 23 seconds off its morning race to finish fourth in the repechage posting a time of 6:04.233 just behind Navy (6:00.591) and ahead of UCSD (6:10.382) and Temple (6:14.526).

The Beavers line up for semifinal racing on Saturday with the V8 racing in Semifinal 3 and the 2V8 will be in Semifinal 4. The 3V8 has advanced to the Third Final on Sunday morning.

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