Peilert caps solid rowing career at Yale

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Friday, June 14, 2019 | 10:50 PM


Sewickley product and Yale fifth-year rower Lucas Peilert ended his college career on a positive note.

Peilert, 22, a Central Catholic graduate, stroked the fourth varsity eight to victory and helped the Bulldogs to the Rowe Cup at the Eastern Sprints Regatta as the highest-scoring heavyweight team.

“Our coach, Steve Gladstone, had challenged us back in 2015 to become Eastern Sprints champions,” Peilert said. “It was a day I will never forget when I was able to make that happen.”

The 6-foot-5, 200-pound Peilert capped the season at the 154th Harvard-Yale Regatta, the nation’s oldest intercollegiate athletic event. The storied rivalry inspired him.

“When you move up to Gales Ferry — part of our our compound where we do final preparations for the Yale-Harvard race — you feel the weight of all the men (who) have come before you,” said Peilert, who did not compete as a junior. “On the walls, names are engraved of oarsmen who have stayed there before you, and pictures of crews from before 1900 hang on the walls.

“When I saw this as a (freshman), I knew I wanted to not just be (a part) of this but make a contribution to the culture that my predecessors had built. Four years later, the squad is winning and thriving, and I know I was responsible for part of that.”

The Bulldog first varsity earned the Eastern Sprints title for the fifth season in a row and the Intercollegiate Rowing Association national title for the third season in a row.

Gladstone said Peilert’s leadership had an impact.

“Like most good leaders, he led by example,” Gladstone said. “He worked through difficult injuries.

“He was an inspiration to me and to the members of our squad.”

Yale assistant Michael Gennaro said, “Even though he is not the strongest guy on the team and is not sitting in the top boat, Lucas is a leader, and we would not be having any of this success without his efforts.”

Peilert, who studied economics, plans to work for a global technology company in Detroit, and row with Detroit Boat Club.

“I want to thank everybody (who) helped me get here, my parents especially,” said Peilert, a 2014 U.S. Junior National Team member who helped the Central Catholic varsity eight to first place at the 2013 Scholastic Rowing Association of America Regatta. “Crew started for me nine years ago with my mom driving me to 5 a.m. practices.

“If my parents hadn’t made those daily sacrifices, I certainly wouldn’t have been able to accomplish the same things over the last five years.”

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