The University of Minnesota Golden Gophers women’s rowing team received time on the water in scrimmages against Notre Dame and Alabama this weekend in Oak Ridge, Tenn. On Saturday the Gophers faced Alabama where there were no real scores kept.
“It was good to just get on the water and see what we have to work with,” said head coach Wendy Davis.
Sunday was a bigger test, however. Instead of competing in a traditional 2,000 meter race, the Gophers raced three 1,500 meter races which were limited to the number of strokes per minute.
The lack of practice on the water held the Gopher team to just winning one Varsity race. In the first Varsity Eight boat, coxswain Linnea Tradem, along with Tracy Merth, Molly Kalmoe, Cassie Drozynski, Erika Berg, Kayla Thom, Christine Beauparlant, Sarah Krueger, and Teresa Logemann, won the first 1,500 meter race with a time of 4:39.1 a little over one second ahead of Notre Dame (4:40.5). They fell to the Fighting Irish, 4:48.2 to 4:49.1 in the second.
“I was really pleased to be there and win the first race at the low rate. It says we have something to work with,” said Davis.
In the Second Varsity Eight, Kate Ladell, Ellen Hughes, Becky Kinchen, Leah Rogotzke, Debbie Brzozowski, Maddy Bourgeois, Ali Haws, Katie Anderson, and coxswain Sara Baldvins lost by close times. Notre Dame edged out a win with a time of 4:50.5, while the Gophers were second in 4:51.4 and Alabama was third in 4:52.2 in the first race.
The Varsity Four boat consisted of coxswain Nicolle Fisher, Alexandria Voss, Natalie Foshag, Jennifer VanVliet, and Allison Putlak. Like the other boats, their first race was their best race of the day. Notre Dame finished in 4:36.2, followed by Alabama in 4:39.4 and Minnesota in third at 4:52.7
The big story of the day was the Gophers’ Novice team. The first-year rowers won all three races and by good measure. In the last race of the day, the 1N8 of coxswain Olivia Vlahos, Sarah Sobek at stroke, Melissa Drezdzon, Chelsea Miller, Katherine Windsor, Molly Gruber, Nicolette Marquardt, Becca Curtis and Erica Revering at bow finished in a time of 4:36.0 to Notre Dame’s 4:39.4. The Minnesota 2N8 also competed in the same event and finished third and ahead of Alabama. The boat of coxswain Emilie Sabourin, Jen Kohl, McKenzie Fitzgerald, Kate Moran, Cassie Meyer, Kelly Brickl, Kathryn DeSmidt, Deena Altszwager and Amber Meyer at bow, finished in 4:43.7, while Alabama’s time was 4:47.5.
"It was great to get out and lineup against someone,” novice coach Andy Foltz said. “We still have a lot of learning to do, but we are on the right path."
For the rest of the week, the Gophers will spend time in Oak Ridge, Tenn., practicing on the water and preparing for the first regular season dual on Saturday, March 19 against the University of Tennessee.
“It was a fun weekend and we are looking forward to a productive week in Tennessee.” This week we will ease into it, make sure not to injure our athletes, and get back into the training regimen,” Davis said.