Rowing: Earns Four Medals at Head of the Ohio

  • By Julie Brown
  • |
  • October 02, 2011 02:03 PM
  • |
MORGANTOWN, W. Va. – The West Virginia University rowing team won four medals Saturday, at the Head of the Ohio regatta on the Allegheny River in Pittsburgh, Pa.

“We were fortunate that the wind and water did not unduly impact racing, but it was definitely a long, cold, wet day for everyone involved,” says coach Jimmy King. “Despite the miserable conditions, the team handled the day very well and never allowed the weather to become the focus over racing.”

The women’s Varsity 8+ took gold for the second year in a row, placing first out of 11 teams. The crew of Hilary Meale, Karen Verwey, Christina Mehrtens, Kelly Kramer, Jessica Hurlbert, Shannon Gribbons, Courtney Schrand, Rachelle Purych and coxswain Morgan Leach crossed the finish line in 15:59.20, ahead of Three Rivers (16:13.77) and Duquesne ‘A’ (16:15.49).

In the women’s Open 2+ competition, West Virginia’s ‘A’ crew placed second behind Indiana (18:06.89). The pair crossed the finish line in 18:50.69, earning a silver medal. In addition, West Virginia’s ‘B’ crew earned bronze after finishing the course in 19:49.01.

The Mountaineers also had three entries in the Varsity 4+ race, two of which placed in the top 10. The ‘C’ crew of Meale, Verwey, Schrand, Purych and coxswain Sarah Cartwright finished first out of 22 crews, beating Alexandria CR and Penn State ‘A’ to the finish line with a time of 17:32.13.

“The winning 4+ raced without a working cox-box; the microphone broke during the warm-up,” King says. “Despite being in a bowloader (facing away from the rowers), Sarah was able to successfully navigate her crew up the course and past two crews who started ahead of them en route to winning the Open 4+.”

The ‘B’ crew finished seventh (18:39.69) and the ‘A’ crew finished 15th (19:35.90).

“Although we enjoyed some success in winning the 8+ and the 4+, we clearly have much room for improvement,” King says. “None of the crews thought particularly highly of their rowing, and that's not surprising after only two weeks on the water.”

The Mountaineers will return to action on Saturday, October 15, when they travel to Charleston, W. Va., for the Head of the Kanawha on the Kanawha River.