Rowing: Opens Fall Season at Head of the Ohio

  • By Julie Brown
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  • September 30, 2011 03:55 PM
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MORGANTOWN, W. Va. – The West Virginia University rowing team is set to begin its fall season with a trip to the Head of the Ohio on the Allegheny River in Pittsburgh, Pa. on Saturday, Oct. 1.

The Mountaineers have six entries in the regatta. One boat will be competing in the women’s open eight competition, three boats in the women’s open four competition and two boats in the women’s open doubles competition.

“With a forecast of unseasonable temperatures in the 40s, rain and wind throughout the day, we'll make a point of talking with our crews about handling those conditions both mentally as well as physically,” says coach Jimmy King. “Like in any sport, we always evaluate how well we compete in every regard regardless of the outcome. The circumstances of this weekend's racing simply give us opportunities for additional evaluation of our team.”

Last season the Mountaineers won gold in the Varsity 8+ event, finishing in first place out of 17 crews overall. The ‘A’ boat of Jenelle Spencer, Jeannine McCarty, Rachelle Purych, Kaitlyn Brownson, Rachel Viglianco, Shannon Gribbons, Karen Verwey, Courtney Schrand and coxswain Sarah Cartwright crossed the finish line in 15:05.88.

In addition, both doubles shells medaled with the ‘B’ crew of Viglianco and Verwey taking home silver, and the ‘A’ crew of Gribbons and Jessica Kelly taking home bronze.

Key Mountaineer returners for this year’s regatta include Spencer, McCarty, Purych, Gribbons, Verwey, Schrand, Kelly and Cartwright.

“Making comparisons to past years’ results is tenuous at best, but even more so this year due to the change of direction in the race course,” King says. “Instead of racing with the current, all of the crews will race 2.6 miles upstream on the Allegheny River.”

The Head of the Ohio is one of the largest regattas with over 75 colleges and universities competing. For live stats throughout the day, visit www.headoftheohio.org. A recap of the event will be provided by MSNsportsNET.com.

Spectators should review the website for directions and parking and note that the race course has reversed direction and the docking and staging area will be in a different location from past years.

The event marks the first of five fall regattas for the Mountaineers. The team next travels to the Head of the Kanawha on the Kanawha River in Charleston, W. Va. on Saturday, Oct. 15.