Rowing: WVU Takes Seventh at BIG EAST

  • By Tiffany Doolittle
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  • May 01, 2011 05:18 PM
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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The West Virginia University rowing team concluded the BIG EAST Championship in West Windsor, N.J., today, with 54 points for a seventh-place finish.

“Despite dropping a spot in the team standings from last year, the program has taken another step forward this year,” says coach Jimmy King. “All of our crews raced well, today, performing as expected based upon past results. In regards to the Varsity 4+ crews, we exceeded our expectations.”

The Varsity 8+boat of Jenelle Spencer, Hilary Meale, Rachelle Purych, Kaitlyn Brownson, Rachel Viglianco, Shannon Gribbons, Karen Verwey, Courtney Schrand and coxswain Mallory Fisher started the day with a third-place finish in heat two of the first Varsity 8+ race.

The crew finished with a time of 7:03.72, 1.41 seconds behind Syracuse (7:02.31) and 7.22 seconds behind Notre Dame (6:56.50). The Mountaineers pushed ahead of the Huskies (7:06.31) to earn a spot in the Grand Finals, where they finished in sixth place in 7:01.94.

After her presentation as stroke of the Varsity 8+ boat, Schrand was honored as a First Team All-BIG EAST for her performance during today’s regatta and throughout her first season as a Mountaineer.

The Second Varsity 8+ boat finished fourth in heat two, with a time of 7:36.11, which was enough to qualify for the Petite Finals. WVU pushed for the win, but fell behind Villanova for a second-place finish.

WVU’s Third Varsity 8+ boat fell short in qualifying for the finals, as it finished fourth with a time of 8:29.74.

“Our Varsity 8+ was back in the Grand Final, where it hasn't been since the first year of the championship in 2005,” says King. “Our Varsity 4+ crews also really impressed us coaches by exceeding their seeds.”

The Varsity 4+ crews saw some success, as they made it to the Grand Finals of their respective races.

The first Varsity 4+ crew finished third in heat one of the preliminaries, with a time of 8:33.64, behind Notre Dame (7:50.91) and Syracuse (8:18.64), and ahead of Rutgers (8:44.77). The crew crossed the line in 8:12.76, for a sixth-place finish in the Grand Finals.

The Second Varsity 4+ boat of newly teamed-up Anna-Claire Bowers, Megan Neckelmann, Mollie Rosen, Kari Roskowinski and coxswain Sarah Cartwright led the Mountaineers, winning a bronze medal in the Grand Finals, with a time of 8:22.32. The Mountaineers finished behind Georgetown and Notre Dame, and ahead of Louisville and Connecticut.

“Our Second Varsity 4+ boat had a lineup change, yesterday, due to injury,” King explains. “They had a short row yesterday evening, then took to the water this morning for their final and only event. I'm particularly pleased about this crew, not simply because they medaled, but because of the way they handled the entire situation. They remained calm, maintained their poise and stepped up when the time came.”

The Mountaineers will conclude their fall season on May 13-14, as they travel to Philadelphia, Pa., to compete at the Dad Vail Regatta on the Schuylkill River.