Kurt Linton couldn't have scripted a better ending. Both Linton and his team ended up on top in his final Aberdeen Dad Vail Regatta, the largest collegiate rowing competition in the country.
A two-time Drexel captain, Linton was part of the gold-medal-winning heavyweight varsity eight that propelled the Dragons to the men's title and the overall points championship in the 75th annual regatta on the Schuylkill.
After the victory Saturday, Linton took in the cheering of the sizable Drexel crowd and summed up what it meant to go out a winner in his final Dad Vail appearance.
"This is how everybody hopes to go out, and all weekend it was in the back of my mind that there was a motivation to go out on top and you never want to leave with a bitter taste in your mouth," he said. "Winning the varsity eight gold medal, there isn't a better way to go out as a senior."
Drexel men's and women's coach Paul Savell said there were many reasons for the Dragons' success, but the leadership and production of Linton were major factors.
"He has been a great team leader, a two-year team captain," Savell said. "He really made all the right moves this year to help keep our whole team together."
Linton, who hails from Linwood, N.J., is a graduate of St. Augustine Prep. Three other St. Augustine graduates were on his winning boat: Michael Faust, Casimir Czworkowski, and coxswain Marc Smith.
The rest of the boat consisted of Vania Busic, Aleksandar Radovic, Lorenzo Albala, Sebastian Ryan, and John Pieper.
"This group of guys is one of the best boats I have ever been involved with," Linton said. "It's a great team, great support, and you couldn't ask for anything better."
Linton said that one of the things he keeps in mind is all the difficult practices he and his teammates have endured over the last four years that enabled the Dragons to reach this point.
"I am absolutely thrilled seeing the sacrifice and hard work being rewarded like this," he said. "To be rowing every day in Philadelphia and coming to see this come to fruition in our home river is an unbelievable feeling."