The University of Minnesota rowing team completed its first of two days at the Aramark South/Central Sprints, today at Melton Hill Lake in Oak Ridge, Tenn. The Golden Gophers have three teams competing at the sprints, including two that advanced to the Grand Finals. Minnesota's First Varsity Eight and First Varsity Four finished in the top-half of their races today, advancing them to the finals tomorrow. Minnesota's Second Varsity Eight also competed today and just missed the Grand Final and will compete in the Petite Final. The Gophers are one of 21 teams competing at the regional sprints.
The Gophers' First Varsity Eight, who is ranked No. 9 in the nation, finished with a win over Notre Dame and Louisville in their first heat. With their time of 6:49.5, the Gophers advanced to the semifinal. The 1V8 defeated the Fighting Irish by nearly two seconds for the win. The Gophers then finished second in the semifinal behind Big Ten Conference opponent Wisconsin. The Gophers chipped in a time of 6:41.66, but the Badgers won the semifinal in a time of 6:40.80.
Although the Gophers finished second, they advance to the Grand Final tomorrow at 11:40 a.m., the final race of the sprints. The Gophers are one of four teams from the Big Ten (Ohio State, Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin) to compete in the Grand Final as well as Notre Dame and Tennessee. Minnesota's boat consisted of Megan Flannery, Cheryl Wick at stroke, Berit Tomten, Jillian Casey, Jennifer Barnes, Laura Jatautaite, Vilma Stragyte, Erika Bartkute and Katie Biese at bow.
Minnesota's first action of the day came at 10 a.m. when the First Varsity Four finished third in their respective heat. The Maroon and Gold tacked on a time at 7:48.1, but Ohio State chipped in a winning time of 7:39.2 and Tennessee finished second in 7:44.5. The 1V4 then added a second-place semifinal time of 7: 39.34 to place them in the A Final (Grand), while Virginia won the semifinal race in a time of 7:44.3. Minnesota's boat consisted of coxswain Kaya Tally, Tracey Tallman at stroke, Katie Engel, Christine O' Donnell and Alissa Almquist. Minnesota's 1V4 will compete tomorrow at 11 a.m. (ET).
The Gophers' Second Varsity Eight finished second in their heat with a time of 7:10.0 behind Michigan. The Gophers competed in the semifinal and finished fourth with a time of 7:03.21. The top three finishes in the semifinal advance to the Grand Final, with the Gophers just missing a Grand Final appearance. The Gopher boat of coxswain Leah Gross, Megan Stuhlfaut at stroke, Rachel Hotkowski, Mary Ann Weinzierl, Catherine Casey, Sally Olson, Maggie Armstrong, Heidi Bechtel and Tina Cho will compete in the Petite Final tomorrow at 11:10 a.m. (ET).