June 1, 2014
INDIANAPOLIS - The University of Notre Dame rowing team capped a historic appearance at the 2014 NCAA Championship on Sunday at Eagle Creek Park. The Irish placed a pair of boats within the top 10 of their given event, tying a program-best finish with a ninth place team result during the national championship regatta.
Notre Dame's top 10 team finish was its first at the NCAA Championship since the regatta expanded to an all-team competition in 2009. The 2006 Irish also placed ninth at the NCAA races, when the field was limited to only 16 teams and programs were not required to field a full three-boat lineup.
"I thought we did a great job with our performance today, especially in the two eights," Notre Dame head coach Martin Stone said. "The four did a great job, but just had a mishap at the start and didn't really get out from it. They still did a great job and almost raced down Princeton."
The Irish varsity four began the day for Notre Dame in the second lane of the petite final heat, which determined seventh through 12th place in each overall boat standing. The four boat crew of coxswain Mikaela Prego, Bailey Amenabar, Stella Willoughby, Emily Horton and Kelsey Sekanick recovered from a slow start off the line to stick with Princeton in the second pack of the petite field. Princeton (8:07.045) ultimately held off Notre Dame (8:07.649) in a tight race to the finish line for fifth place in the heat, well behind the winning entry of Ohio State (7:53.049).
In second varsity eight racing later in the morning, the Irish engaged in a spirited race with both Michigan (7:02.998) and UCLA (7:05.603) for the petite eight crown in a seven-boat final heat. Coxswain Alex Techar, Sarah Kappers, Carlee Beckler, Katie Skorcz, Alexis Olson, Elizabeth Kelley, Rose Doerfler, Ellen Gleadow and Kiersten DeHaven crossed the finish line in 7:06.847 to place third in the heat, earning the Notre Dame second varsity eight's highest overall NCAA result (ninth place) in the process.
"The second eight rowed a perfect race plan for them," Stone said. "They stayed poised and showed some fortitude when they were down early. They kept the boat speed up during the middle part of the race into a strong headwind, which, given that they are a fairly small and lighter crew, speaks volumes of their toughness and fortitude throughout the piece."
Notre Dame's first varsity eight capped the NCAA Championship with a neck-and-neck finish down the stretch against conference rival Virginia for runner-up honors in the last petite final of the competition. The Irish crew of coxswain Christina Dines, Teresa Rubinger, Hilary Shinnick, Anna Kottkamp, Ailish Sheehan, Erin Boxberger, Molly Bruggeman, Courtney Gaberino and Joanna Mulvey came on strong late against the Virginia (6:55.906) crew, claiming third place in 6:57.515 to finish ninth overall in the championship standings. Princeton earned the petite final victory with a race time of 6:51.795.
"The 1V, they rowed a different strategy," Stone said. "They knew the boats, particularly Virginia, were just going to blow off the line, and if we wanted to have any chance at all we needed to go with them. We were able to do that before it got away from us a little bit, but then we tried to reel them back in late."
Ohio State repeated as the NCAA champion in the team competition, claiming victories in both the first and second varsity eight grand finals, along with the four petite final, to secure its second straight national title with 126 total points. California finished in second place with 118 points, followed by Brown in third with 116 points. Stanford (fourth place, 110 points) and Virginia (fifth place, 105 points) rounded out the top five national finishers.
"(For the weekend) it was great racing, and overall the team finishing ninth, that speaks volumes," Stone said. "I thought the kids did a phenomenal job this weekend and also leading up to it. We were sort of beat up coming out of exams, and we just worked our way back and picked up speed."
NCAA Women's Division I Varsity Eight Preliminaries, Heat 2
NCAA Women's Division I Varsity Eight Repechage, Heat 2
NCAA Women's Division I Second Varsity Eight Preliminaries, Heat 2
NCAA Women's Division I Second Varsity Eight Repechage, Heat 2
NCAA Women's Division I Varsity Four Preliminaries, Heat 3
NCAA Women's Division I Varsity Eight A/B Semifinal 2
NCAA Women's Division I Second Varsity Eight A/B Semifinal 2
NCAA Women's Division I Varsity Four A/B Semifinal 1
NCAA Women's Division I Varsity Four Petite Final
NCAA Women's Division I Second Varsity Eight Petite Final
NCAA Women's Division I First Varsity Eight Petite Final
2014 NCAA Championship Final Results