Rowing: Concludes Season with Strong Finish

  • By Julie Brown
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  • May 14, 2011 08:36 PM
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MORGANTOWN, W. Va. – The West Virginia University rowing team concluded its season today at the Dad Vail Regatta in Philadelphia, Pa., with one boat racing in the Grand Finals and one boat racing in the Petite Finals.

The women’s Novice 4+ boat of Mollie Rosen, Tamyra Roberts, Danika Rencken, Christina Mehrtens and coxswain Morgan Leach finished fifth in the Grand Finals with a time of 8:10.52, after advancing by finishing second in this morning’s first semi-final with a time of 8:03.75.

The fifth place finish marked the best overall finish of the day for West Virginia, and placed the crew fifth out of approximately 45 crews.

"We're quite pleased with how this group came together in such a short time,” said coach Jimmy King. “Credit goes to Coach Griffith for leading this crew to a strong performance."

Emory University (7:55.33), Brock University (7:59.74) and Fairfield University (8:06.03) finished in the top three, respectively.

In addition, the Varsity 8+ boat of Rachel Viglianco, Kaitlyn Brownson, Jenelle Spencer, Shannon Gribbons, Hilary Meale, Rachelle Purych, Karen Verwey, Courtney Schrand and coxswain Mallory Fisher placed second in the Petite Finals behind Drexel University (6:46.64) with a time of 6:49.36.

Despite being in fourth place during the first 500-meters of the race, the Varsity 8+ moved through UMass during the second 500-meters, and closed to within a few seats of UConn at the halfway mark. From there, they used the remaining distance of 1,000-meters to move past UConn and take second place.

The crew crossed the finish line ahead of UConn (6:51.04), the University of Dayton (6:56.65), UMass (6:56.99) and Jacksonville University (7:04.56), ultimately finishing eighth out of 35 crews.

The Varsity 8+ advanced to the Petite Final after placing fourth (7:04.62) in this morning’s first semi-final.

"I'm very happy for this crew to end their season with such a good race and, in particular, for our seniors Kate & Rachel,” said King. “They struggled during the heat and semifinal, but when confronted with their last opportunity, they came through with a strong race."

Lastly, the women’s Open 2- of Amanda Hirsch and Danielle Widecrantz narrowly missed advancing to the finals by placing third in the second semi-final with a time of 8:34.61. The pair raced aggressively and held onto second place for more than half of the race before slipping to third.

The 2- finished ahead of Middlebury College (8:45.83) and Carnegie Mellon University (9:02.44), while Fairfield University took first with a time of 8:18.20 and Brock University finished second after crossing the finish line in 8:23.85.

“Although Amanda (Hirsch) & Danielle (Widecrantz) were quick to point to things they might have done differently, just as quickly Coach Ayers pointed out how well they raced and competed this weekend. The 2- is a difficult boat to row and the rowers responded well to the challenge," ended King.