The University of Minnesota finished sixth overall and fourth in the central region to complete the Aramark South/Central Region Sprints, this morning in Oak Ridge, Tenn. The Golden Gophers finished second in the Second Varsity Eight Grand Final, fourth in the First Varsity Four Grand Final and fifth in the First Varsity Eight Grand Final to tally 339 points. Virginia led the sprints with 440 points, followed by Ohio State (366), Tennessee (352), Wisconsin (346) and Notre Dame (341).
The 2007 season marked the first time that all three boats reached the Grand Finals and the first time the Second Varsity Eight had medaled at the sprints. The day started out with the Varsity Four race in which the Gophers finished fourth overall with a time of 7:39.07. The Gopher boat contained coxswain Erica Niemiec, Lauren VanProosdy, Rebecca Brzozowski, Rachel Hotkowski and Emily Baxter. Virginia won the event in a time of 7:22.20, while Wisconsin placed second in a time of 7:33.81.
Minnesota's Second Varsity Eight boat obtained its highest finish ever when it placed second in a time of 6:38.31. Virginia won the race in a time of 6:37.60 for the win. Medaling in the event was Kaja Tally, Mary Ann Weinzierl, Christine O'Donnell, Maggie Armstrong, Catherine Casey, Ashlee Vilmo, Heidi Bechtel, Sarah Graham and Katie Johnson.
The Gophers' third and last Grand Final was the First Varsity Eight when the Gophers placed fifth overall in a time of 6:37.86. Virginia won their third-straight race with a time of 6:30.40. Competing for the Gophers was Megan Flannery, Laura Jatautaite, Cheryl Wick, Jenny Barnes, Erika Bartkute, Vilma Stragyte, Sally Olson, Berit Tomten and Jenna Buskohl.
Minnesota will await to hear if it is one of 12 teams to advance to the NCAA Championships, May 25-27, also in Oak Ridge, Tenn. If the Gophers are selected, it will be the first time in school history that the Gophers will compete as a team at the championships. The Gophers were selected to participate in the First Varsity Eight as an at-large team.