May 30, 2004
Sacramento, Calif. – The Notre Dame women’s varsity eight finished 11th overall at the 2004 NCAA Championships following a fifth-place finish in the Petite Final on Lake Natoma in Sacramento, Calif.
The Irish were among 16 varsity eight boats to earn a berth in this year’s championships. Rowing in the NCAAs for just the second time in school history (its other appearance was in 2002), Notre Dame’s 11th-place finish is its best in school history. The crew advanced to the semifinals following a third-place finish in the preliminary heat on Friday and then finished fifth in their heat on the second day of competition to earn a spot in today’s Petite Final.
In today’s race, the No. 16th-ranked boat of Maureen Gibbons (Langhorne, Pa.), senior stroke Natalie Ladine (Sacramento, Calif.), senior Alice Bartek (Omaha, Neb.), sophomore Meghan Boyle (Pittsburgh, Pa.), junior Rachel Polinski (Mansfield, Ohio), freshman Melissa Felker (Bellevue, Wash.), junior Katie Chenoweth (East Lansing, Mich.), senior Danielle Protasewich (Duxbury, Mass.) and senior Jacqueline Hazen (Germantown, Tenn.) recorded its best time of the meet as they finished the course in 6:43.00, edging out No. 12 USC which finished in 6:43.16.
“We’re very excited about how well we raced today,” Irish heach coach Martin Stone said. “It’s really amazing to see how far our program has come in such a short time and to be finish 11th overall at the NCAAs is truly a credit to everyone on our team. I was really proud of how hard we raced today and I think those rowers that competed for us at this event found a new level of racing.
“I think we surprised a lot of people in how far our program has come in just six short years and that is certainly a credit to our seniors. We raced brilliantly in the first 1,000 meters today and then seemed to slow down a bit, but still was able to hold off USC. We showed today that we could compete with the best programs in the country.”
Notre Dame stood third after the first 500 meters as the Irish posted a 1:36.23 split and were fourth after both the 1,000 and 1,500-meter marks. Tennessee, which stood six heading into the final 500 meters, overtook both Notre Dame and USC with a 1:36.95 split. The Irish were clocked in 1:40.74 in the last leg of the race.
No. 6 Washington won the Petite Final in 6:37.44, followed by No. 4 Harvard (6:37.88), No. 5 Virginia (6:38.27) and No. 10 Tennessee (6:40.36).
No. 9 Brown won the Grand Final in 6:32.61. No. 7 Yale was second in 6:34.20, followed by No. 8 Michigan (6:37.06), No. 2 Princeton (6:37.99), No. 3 Ohio State and No. 1 California (6:41.90).