WOMEN'S ROWING: Irish take home Midwest Rowing title
By JOHN BACSIK
It was as easy as one, two, three this weekend for the women's crew team — almost. The team was victorious in all three of its races at the Midwest Rowing Championships, but not without some interference from Mother Nature.
The Novice 4 squad started things off early Saturday morning on Lake Wingra with the wind in the running as its chief competitor. The choppy waters couldn't deter the squad, though, as it defeated Kansas by three seconds with a time of 7:37.
The Novice 8 boat took to the waters around 8:30 a.m., after the conditions had calmed slightly.
"It was a little difficult warming up," said freshman Katie Welsh. "We've practiced in those conditions before though, so we knew what to expect."
Welsh and the rest of the Novice 8 boat took first in their heat, finishing in a time of 6:38, 20 seconds faster than Grand Valley State.
This was all the rowing the Irish would do for one day, as weather quickly worsened.
At first, officials simply postponed races until later in the afternoon, but the inclement weather never cleared, and the rest of the scheduled races were eventually cancelled for the day. The Irish were happy with their two victories despite the less-than-favorable elements, but the delays caused a small problem.
The team bus was due back Sunday morning, and only the Varsity 8 was able to stay to complete its races because they had traveled in a separate van.
"It's unfortunate that the rest of our team couldn't stay. I think they would have been really successful," said senior Claire Bula.
To compensate for the previous day's inconveniences the Varsity 8 was forced to rise in the wee hours of the morning for a 6:30 a.m. race. Neither the early start nor lack of added team support could deter the squad though, as they came in with a time of 6:14, defeating Wisconsin by one second.
"I'm from Madison, and it was nice to have the hometown crowd there for us," said Bula. "Wisconsin has only lost this event once in the past, so it was nice to be able to defeat them as well."
The next test for the women's team will be April 29, as it competes in the inaugural Big East Rowing Championships in Massachusetts. The Irish hope to upset Big East rivals Syracuse and Rutgers as they continue their quest for the NCAAs in May.
All Sports Stories for Tuesday, April 24, 2001