April 15, 2014
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – There were many positives that emerged from the University of Notre Dame rowing team’s appearance last weekend at the Lake Natoma Invitational in Folsom, Calif. In a field that featured a total of six national top 20 teams, the Irish placed fifth in the regatta, posting top times against the likes of No. 1 California, No. 4 Southern California and No. 7 Stanford.
“We went out and raced good races, and learned, which was good,” Notre Dame head coach Martin Stone said. “We finished right where our seat was for the regatta. There is a tendency to think, could we have been a second and a half faster against USC, or two seconds faster to make a difference for the weekend, or even raced faster against Cal? I think it will be an up and down thing as we go, a few steps forward and maybe one back, but I think we are on the right track.”
No. 9 Notre Dame scored a total of six racing points during the two-day regatta after posting nine runner-up finishes, earning its top result in the very first race of the weekend on Saturday morning. The Irish varsity four (7:22.30) claimed a six-second victory over Southern California (7:28.60) to open the regatta on a high note.
“The four from USC won a crew classic against many of the other top West Coast schools last week,” Stone said. “We are all trying to position ourselves so that if we don’t win the conference championship we get an automatic bid, so we are all positioning for an at-large selection. You are essentially playing the points system in the rankings to move your team to be picked as an at-large.”
Notre Dame’s first four (7:35.80) added a narrow defeat against top-ranked California (7:35.50) and an additional second-place finish (7:25.20) against Stanford (7:23.00) on Sunday to pace the Irish on Lake Natoma.
“Our four held its own and did a good job, and their race against Cal was a nail biter,” Stone said. “The race against Stanford, they came back again. That is all positive, and I think we’re moving in the right direction. It will be fun to see what happens this weekend at Michigan.”
Notre Dame returns to the water on Saturday, as part of the field for the ACC-Big Ten Challenge on Belleville Lake in Belleville, Mich. Other teams competing include national No. 2 Ohio State and No. 10 Michigan.