May 15, 2010
OAK RIDGE, Tenn.- The Notre Dame rowing team qualified the novice eight boat for the grand final race at the Central/South Region Championships from Melton Lake. Along with the novice eight boat, four additional Irish crews have qualified for their respective petite finals.
“I thought that all of our boats raced extremely hard today,” Irish head coach Martin Stone said. “In the morning races we really came out and did exactly what we wanted to do, which was qualify most of our boats for the A/B semifinals. In the afternoon we continued to race very hard but we just ran against some very strong opposition. Our varsity eight boat raced one of their strongest races of the year but the level of competition was just too great this time around.”
The Irish got underway in the very first heat of competition in the open four race. The Notre Dame “B” boat crossed in third place at 7:56.23, behind Virginia “A” (7:37.90) and Ohio State (7:48.50) in the first of the four heats. The Notre Dame “A” boat then took to the water in the second heat, earning a fourth-place finish in 7:56.74.
Notre Dame’s novice eight boat was next to compete in the first of two heats, a race that saw all seven lanes filled. The Irish posted a time of 7:06.28 to cross the gate in second place, behind only Wisconsin “A” (6:57.20).
The Irish varsity four boat, currently ranked the second-best squad in the central region according to NCAA.com, competed next in the fourth and final heat of varsity four competition. The boat was able to finish third in the race, behind Michigan State (7:32.60) and Iowa (7:35.79) with a pace of 7:40.01.
The Notre Dame second varsity eight boat competed next in a five-boat heat against Wisconsin, Minnesota, Oklahoma and Duke. The Irish crew earned a runner-up finish in the heat with a time of 7:03.03. The Badgers won the race with a mark of 6:52.10.
The Irish concluded morning prelims in the first heat of varsity eight action. Notre Dame crossed in third place with a final time of 6:51.01. Virginia (6:37.10) and Iowa (6:47.89) took home first and second, respectively, in the race.
Five of the six Irish boats (open four “B”, novice eight, varsity four, second varsity eight, varsity eight) qualified for the A/B semifinals giving them a chance to qualify for the grand final on Sunday. Meanwhile, the open four “A” boat will compete in the C/D semifinal to determine if it will move to the C or D final tomorrow.
The first Irish boat to run a semifinal race was the open four “A” boat. The crew ran a strong race, completing the course in 7:55.50 to capture the heat victory and grab a spot in the C final. Tulsa “B” (7:57.19) and Tulsa “A” (8:06.05) finished second and third, respectively, to round out the qualifiers for the C final.
Notre Dame’s open four “B” boat was next up and first to earn a spot in a petite final. The boat ran the course in a time of 8:00.96 and finished fifth overall. The semifinal victory went to Virginia “B” (7:36.10).
Next to the water was the novice eight semifinal. The Irish boat, which qualified second, ran a strong race to stop the clock at 7:05.90. The result was enough to grab second place to Michigan (7:03.10) and earn the crew a spot in the grand final. Notre Dame held off Wisconsin “B” (7:07.91) to capture the grand final berth.
“Our novice eight boat raced two great races today,” Stone stated. “In the first race they had a good battle with Michigan State. Wisconsin pulled away a bit in that prelim but we hung tough with Michigan State to get second place. In the semifinal it was us, Michigan and Wisconsin that really pulled clear of the field and we kept around with Wisconsin and in the end were able to hold them off for the spot in the grand final.”
The Irish varsity four boat, which qualified for the first semifinal race, earned a bid to the petite final after finishing fifth on their run. The crew was able to complete the course in 7:37.07, while Virginia (7:21.20) grabbed the heat victory.
Second varsity eight action was next, with the Irish running in the second of two heats. Notre Dame posted a mark of 7:11.24 and finished in sixth place in the race to advance to the petite final. Virginia (6:40.50), Michigan (6:45.95) and Tennessee (6:48.95) finished first through third and earned the spots in the grand final.
The day’s races concluded with the varsity eight semifinals. Notre Dame ran in the first heat and finished in fifth to also advance to petite final action. The crew stopped the clock at 6:44.79. Virginia won the heat after setting the pace at 6:28.80.
Race action is slated to get underway at 9:00 a.m. (ET) on Sunday beginning with the open four D final. The first Irish boat to take to the course will be the Notre Dame open four “A” in the C final, tentatively scheduled to race at 9:40 a.m.
Check back with und.com for a complete recap of how the Irish fared on the final day of race action from the Central/South Sprints.