May 1, 2011
WEST WINDSOR, N.J. - The 20th-ranked University of Notre Dame women's rowing team made it eight consecutive BIG EAST Championships on Sunday at Mercer Lake in West Windsor, N.J. The Irish won gold medals in the third varsity four, third varsity eight, varsity four and second varsity eight races.
"To win is always great," stated Irish head coach Martin Stone. "I think our team performed well. The conditions were phenomenal and the racing was great. I think there is a little more competitiveness in the league now. It seemed as though all the races were tighter this year around, but all of our boats performed well and raced really hard."
Notre Dame finished with 114 points on the day, holding off second place Louisville (109) by five points. Georgetown rounded out the top three, finishing the regatta with 95 points.
The current streak of eight straight championships stands as the longest active championship streak in the BIG EAST Conference. The Irish previously held the longest streak in women's swimming and diving, which won 14 straight conference crowns before finishing second this year.
The Irish showed they were ready to defend their crown early on, winning their qualifying heat in each of the varsity eight, varsity four, second varsity eight and third varsity eight races.
Notre Dame continued to row strong right through the grand final races, winning four of the six races, while finishing runner-up in each the second varsity four and varsity eight competitions.
The varsity eight boat took to the water first to get qualifying races underway. The Irish boat placed in heat two and pulled away for a near six-second victory in 6:56.50. Syracuse crossed the line second at 7:02.31.
The second varsity eight boat would not be outdone, posting its own near six-second win in the first of two heats. The Irish crossed in 7:06.62 to fend off second place Georgetown (7:12.03). Notre Dame was the lone boat of the eight in qualifying to break the 7:10.00 mark in preliminaries.
In the most lopsided of the Irish qualifiers, the Notre Dame varsity four boat defeated the Syracuse boat by over 27 seconds. The Irish crossed at 7:50.91 to leave water between their boat and the Orange, who ended at 8:18.64.
The clean sweep was completed in third varsity eight action, as the Irish crossed at 7:22.21 to again pull away from Syracuse, who finished second at 7:47.11.
Grand Final Results:
The finals got underway in much the fashion the Irish had hoped for, as Notre Dame captured the third varsity four gold medal. While the race did not count toward the team standings, the Irish built off the momentum going forward into the final five races. The Irish boat claimed the win in 8:03.62 while Georgetown finished second in 8:20.83.
In second varsity four action, the Irish crew was unable to make it two-for-two out of the gates, falling to Georgetown. The Hoyas concluded the race in 7:54.95 with Notre Dame ending at 8:02.29.
The Irish then went on a run in the next three races, claiming gold in each of the three. The third varsity eight crew started the streak, securing the victory in 7:03.24 to hold off Louisville (7:09.48).
Entering as the second seeded boat in the race, the Irish varsity four crew pulled off a much-needed win, ending at 7:31.36. Louisville, who entered as the overall top seed, could not overcome the Notre Dame boat and finished second at 7:39.26.
In the closest final of the day, the top seeded Irish second varsity eight boat held on for the victory over Louisville, finishing at 6:49.10 while the Cardinals crossed at 6:51.01.
The final race of the day saw the varsity eight crews take to the water, with final placement in the race determining the conference champion. While the Irish (6:42.83) were unable to take the top spot in the race, falling to Louisville (6:40.00), the second place result was enough to maintain the top spot in the standings and clinch the BIG EAST Championship.
This is the fourth time over the eight-year stretch that the Irish and Cardinals have finished one-two in the standings. It also marks the closest margin of victory for the Irish since the squad posted a 15-point victory over Syracuse in '09.
Race Results (Preliminaries):
Varsity Eight (Heat Two):
1. NOTRE DAME (Abby Meyers (C), Stephanie Gretsch, Katherine Linnemanstons, Genevieve Malone, Stephanie O'Neill, Olivia Kacsits, Molly Bruggeman, Emily Crosby, Carol Ann Michel) - 6:56.50; 2. Syracuse - 7:02.31; 3. West Virginia - 7:03.72; 4. Connecticut - 7:06.31
Second Varsity Eight (Heat One):
1. NOTRE DAME (Rachael Louie (C), Katie Suyo, Teresa Blumenstein, Paige Aiello, Kelsey Haddad, Erin McConnell, Megan Keegan, Morgan Kelley, Joanna Poinsatte) - 7:06.62; 2. Georgetown - 7:12.03; 3. Connecticut - 7:28.59; 4. West Virginia - 7:36.11
Varsity Four (Heat Two):
Third Varsity Eight (Heat Two):
1. NOTRE DAME (Jacqueline Gilhooly (C), Sarah McShane, Paige White, Elizabeth Linnemanstons, Kathryn Monahan, Alyce Kanabrocki, Kelsey Murphy, Valerie Brencher, Stephanie Boggs) - 7:22.21; 2. Syracuse - 7:47.11; 3. Rutgers - 8:01.87
Race Results (Finals):
Third Varsity Four (2 boats):
Second Varsity Four (5 boats):
1. Georgetown - 7:54.95; 2. NOTRE DAME (Danielle Schneider (C), Nicole Michels, Meghan Salomon, Sarah Thompson, Analisa LaMair-Orosco) - 8:02.29; 3. West Virginia - 8:22.32; 4. Louisville - 8:29.89; 5. Connecticut - 8:51.41
Third Varsity Eight (6 boats):
1. NOTRE DAME (Jacqueline Gilhooly (C), Sarah McShane, Paige White, Elizabeth Linnemanstons, Kathryn Monahan, Alyce Kanabrocki, Kelsey Murphy, Valerie Brencher, Stephanie Boggs) - 7:03.24; 2. Louisville - 7:09.48; 3. Georgetown - 7:18.03; 4. Connecticut - 7:29.55; 5. Syracuse - 7:33.82; 6. Rutgers - 7:51.44
Varsity Four (6 boats):
1. NOTRE DAME (Christina Dines (C), Kiersten DeHaven, Ching-Ting Hwang, Courtney Gaberino, Teresa Rubinger) - 7:31.36; 2. Louisville - 7:39.26; 3. Syracuse - 7:49.41; 4. Georgetown - 7:58.85; 5. Connecticut - 8:05.61; 6. West Virginia - 8:12.76
Second Varsity Eight (6 boats):
1. NOTRE DAME (Rachael Louie (C), Katie Suyo, Teresa Blumenstein, Paige Aiello, Kelsey Haddad, Erin McConnell, Megan Keegan, Morgan Kelley, Joanna Poinsatte) - 6:49.10; 2. Louisville - 6:51.01; 3. Georgetown - 6:58.15; 4. Syracuse - 6:59.83; 5. Connecticut - 7:05.65; 6. Rutgers - 7:06.96
Varsity Eight (6 boats):
1. Louisville - 6:40.00; 2. NOTRE DAME (Abby Meyers (C), Stephanie Gretsch, Katherine Linnemanstons, Genevieve Malone, Stephanie O'Neill, Olivia Kacsits, Molly Bruggeman, Emily Crosby, Carol Ann Michel) - 6:42.83; 3. Georgetown - 6:44.69; 4. Rutgers - 6:47.14; 5. Syracuse - 6:51.12; 6. West Virginia - 7:01.94
Final Team Standings 1. Notre Dame, 114 points 2. Louisville, 109 points 3. Georgetown, 95 points 4. Syracuse, 73 points 5. Connecticut, 65 points 6. Rutgers, 59 points 7. West Virginia, 54 points 8. Villanova, 32 points