Stephanie Gretsch becomes the eighth Irish rower named a CRCA National Scholar Athlete three times

Irish Finish Second In Group B At Lake Natoma Invitational

April 17, 2011

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – The University of Notre Dame women’s rowing team finished in second place of group B on Sunday at the Lake Natoma Invitational on Lake Natoma. All three Irish boats – varsity eight, varsity four, second varsity eight – finished second in their respective races.

“Overall I’m pleased with how this weekend went for us as a team,” stated Irish head coach Martin Stone. “We obviously would have liked to have gotten one more point to hang on for the group B title, but all three of our boats competed very well. I think our varsity eight is churning right along, our varsity four competed very well all weekend, especially given that four freshman are part of that boat, and our second varsity eight raced hard in all races, especially in today’s race.”

The Irish battled against Wisconsin and Tennessee on Sunday, after the three boats were seeded into group B based on performances on Saturday. Each of the three group B races awarded points based on finish, with first place of the varsity eight earning nine points, second varsity eight earning six and varsity four getting three.

In the varsity eight race, a close race broke out, with Tennessee holding on for the victory after crossing the line at 6:31.10. The Irish crew of coxswain Abby Meyers, Stephanie Gretsch, Katherine Linnemanstons, Genevieve Malone, Stephanie O’Neill, Olivia Kacsits, Molly Bruggeman, Emily Crosby and Carol Ann Michel crossed shortly thereafter at 6:33.00, with Wisconsin crossing exactly a second after that at 6:34.00. For the result, Notre Dame earned six points toward the team score.

“The varsity eight race was really close throughout,” remarked Stone. “All three boats finished within three seconds apart. Tennessee pulled ahead a bit early on and we would close ground a little bit, and then Tennessee would separate again, and Wisconsin was right with us the whole way as well. That’s pretty much the way it went through the entire race.”

In second varsity eight action, the Irish crew of coxswain Rachael Louie, Katie Suyo, Teresa Blumenstein, Paige Aiello, Kelsey Haddad, Erin McConnell, Megan Keegan, Morgan Kelley and Joanna Poinsatte put forth a valiant effort but fell just short in the end, finishing at 6:45.20. Wisconsin pulled away for the win in 6:35.30, while Tennessee crossed third at 6:45.57. Notre Dame earned four points toward the team total as a result.

“Our second varsity eight raced hard. Wisconsin and our boat pulled away a bit over the first half of the race. Once we were about halfway, Wisconsin opened up the margin a bit and Tennessee began to make a hard late charge, but our girls were able to hold on for second place.”

Coxswain Christina Dines and the crew of Kiersten DeHaven, Teresa Rubinger, Courtney Gaberino and Ching-Ting Hwang also finished second in the varsity four race, crossing at 7:23.13. Wisconsin claimed first in 7:17.05 and Tennessee finished third at 7:30.89. The second-place result earned the Irish two additional points toward the team total.

“The varsity four race was a bit more open water between each squad,” said Stone. “Wisconsin ended up finishing around six seconds ahead of us and we closed out around seven seconds up on Tennessee.”

At the end of all three races, each of the three teams in group B sat tied with 12 total points. In the case of such a tiebreaker, the winner is determined based on best finisher in the varsity eight race, giving Tennessee the victory. Notre Dame earned second, while Wisconsin finished third.

Next on the schedule for the Irish is a bid at the team’s eighth consecutive BIG EAST title, as the team heads to West Windsor, N.J. on May 1 for the conference championships.

Lake Natoma Invitational - Group B Final Results:
Varsity Four1. Wisconsin - 7:17.052. NOTRE DAME - 7:23.133. Tennessee - 7:30.89
Second Varsity Eight1. Wisconsin - 6:35.302. NOTRE DAME - 6:45.203. Tennessee - 6:45.57
Varsity Eight1. Tennessee - 6:31.102. NOTRE DAME - 6:33.003. Wisconsin - 6:34.00
Points1. Tennessee* - 122. NOTRE DAME - 123. Wisconsin - 12* - claimed first based off tiebreaker of order of finish in varsity eight race