Katherine McMackin and the varsity four boat will look to capture the Grand Final gold on Sunday at the South/Central Sprints

Irish Varsity Four Boat Qualifies For Grand Finals At South/Central Sprints

May 16, 2009

South/Central Sprints Semifinal Results Get Acrobat Reader

South/Central Sprints Finals Heat Sheet Get Acrobat Reader

OAK RIDGE, Tenn. – With day one complete from the South/Central Sprints at Melton Hill Lake in Oak Ridge, Tenn., the Notre Dame rowing team has placed five of six boats in either the Grand or Petite Finals on Sunday, May 17 when racing commences at 9:00 a.m. (ET). The Irish will see the varsity four boat taking to the water looking to capture the Grand Final gold, while four other boats (Notre Dame “A” open four, novice eight, second varsity eight and varsity eight) will row in the Petite Final. The Notre Dame “B” open four boat also will look to capture the Open Four C Final crown.

Preliminary Heats:

Notre Dame posted solid finishes in the preliminary session at the South/Central Sprints as the Irish placed at least one boat in the A/B semifinals.

The Notre Dame “B” open four boat was first to take to the water after a brief delay in the morning due to lingering fog in the area. The crew of coxswain Jacqueline Gilhooly, Ching-Ting Hwang, Lisa Bunn, Margot Debot and Andrea Archer faced off against Duke “A”, Virginia “A”, Iowa and Duke “B” in the heat. The Irish boat completed the course in fifth place with a time of 7:29.81, which placed the team in the first C/D semifinal. The top three times in each of the semifinals qualify to the C Final, with the bottom two times in each heat moving to the D Final.

The second Irish crew in open four competition – the Notre Dame “A” boat – was able to qualify for the A/B semifinals. The crew of coxswain Rachael Louie, Laura Petnuch, Erika Shults, Bridget Leone and Hannah Jackson were able to complete the race in 7:15.99 to finish the prelim in third place, behind Ohio State (7:09.30) and Michigan (7:12.04). The boat’s effort placed it in the first A/B semifinal against the boats of Virginia “B”, Duke “A”, Clemson “A”, Michigan and Iowa.

The novice eight crew was next up in the preliminary heat. The crew of coxswain Alisha Elliot, Maria Lang, Kacey Gergely, Carly Anderson, Colleen McKenna, Valerie Brencher, Megan Osterhout, Kaitlyn Meaney and Tess Fitzpatrick would race in the third preliminary heat. The boat raced to a time of 6:52.11, placing it in fourth place behind UCF (6:38.00), Michigan (6:39.80) and Alabama (6:49.89). With the fourth-place result, the Irish crew was able to advance to the A/B semifinals due to the fact that the top four boats qualify in this particular race. The boat’s time placed it in the second A/B semifinal against the likes of Oklahoma “A”, Virginia “B”, Virginia “A”, UCF and Michigan State.

The Irish continued to qualify boats for the A/B semifinals in the next event, the varsity four race. The boat crewed by coxswain Katherine McMackin, Katie Suyo, Stephanie Gretsch, Braegan Padley and Genevieve Malone was grouped in the initial heat of the event. The team went on to capture second in the heat in a time of 7:22.08, falling only to the runaway heat winners from Ohio State (7:09.70). The time earned the crew a spot in the first A/B semifinal against Indiana, Michigan State, Virginia, Clemson and UCF.

Notre Dame would make it four-for-four in qualifying boats with the second varsity eight competition. The crew of coxswain Kelsey Otero, Emily Backer, Mallory Glass, Carol Ann Michel, Erin McConnell, Emily Crosby, Christina Buckley, Elli Greybar and Erica Copeland were placed in the second heat of the event and ended the race with a second-place finish behind Ohio State (6:28.50) by posting a time of 6:37.83. The Irish boat earned a place in the first A/B semifinal against the crews of Iowa, Clemson, Michigan State, Virginia and Louisville.

With one race to go, Notre Dame was able to place its fifth boat in as many events in the A/B semifinals. The boat of coxswain Stephanie Szegedi, Brittney Kelly, Katherine Linnemanstons, Lauren Buck, Morgan Kelley, Megan Keegan, Christine Trezza, Casey Robinson and Anni Nowhitney raced across the finish line in a time of 6:39.59 to secure third place in the heat. Michigan (6:29.70) and Louisville (6:36.90) went one-two respectively in the race to also qualify for the semifinals. Clemson, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota and UCF were matched up with the Irish in the final race of day one action in A/B semifinal two.

Semifinal Heats:

As the afternoon semifinals began, Notre Dame sent out its “B” open four boat first. Matched up against Iowa “B”, Indiana, Texas and Miami, the Irish were able to place second with a time of 7:21.61. The time placed them behind only Iowa, which finished in a time of 7:18.30. Also qualifying out of the heat was Indiana (7:24.82). Rounding out the field in the C Final will be UCF, Duke “B” and Kansas. The Irish will compete for the C final title at approximately 9:30 a.m. on Sunday, May 17.

Next into the water for Notre Dame was its “A” open four boat. The Irish were able to improve its preliminary time by three seconds as the boat crossed the finish gate at 7:12.20. The Irish, however, were unable to make it into the top three in the field as Michigan (7:04.40), Clemson “A” (7:07.30) and Virginia “B” (7:09.34) were able to hold on to the top three spots to qualify for the grand finals. With its fourth-place finish, the Irish boat will move into the petite final, which is slated for a 10:20 a.m. start.

The next race of the semifinals would be the novice eight. The Irish boat completed the course in a time of 6:43.60, good for sixth-place in the heat. With the finish, the novice eight boat qualified for its respective petite final, which will feature the boats of Alabama, Michigan State, Clemson, Virginia “B” and Ohio State alongside the Irish. The race is tentatively scheduled to begin at 10:40 a.m.

With two boats into their respective petite finals, the Notre Dame varsity four boat was able to capture the Irish’s only spot in a grand final. The Irish crew was able to knock off more than 22 seconds from the preliminary time, stopping the clock at 6:59.10. Virginia (6:56.00) and Clemson (6:58.70) went one-two respectively, with the Irish being the third and final qualifier from the heat to move on to the grand final. Michigan, Ohio State and Minnesota will make up the other three boats in six-team grand final field scheduled to race at 11:10 a.m.

Second varsity eight action was next to take place in what turned out to be the closest Irish finish of the day. The Notre Dame boat was able to complete the race in a time of 6:16.00, besting its morning time by better than 21 seconds. However, the Irish would qualify fourth place in the heat, as they were just unable to overtake Clemson (6:15.80) for the final qualifying position in the grand final. Notre Dame will be joined by Louisville, Minnesota, Tennessee, Iowa and Texas in the second varsity eight petite final slated to begin at 11:20 a.m.

The day would conclude for the Irish with the running of the varsity eight semifinal heats. The boat would again improve on the time it posted in the morning prelims, eliminating more than 22 seconds from its time in crossing at 6:17.00. However, the time would give the crew a fifth-place mark in the semifinal and a lane in the petite final. The Irish will be competing against the likes of Kansas State, Louisville, Minnesota, Iowa and UCF in the race, which is scheduled to take place at 11:40 a.m.

For continued session results from the South/Central Sprints be sure to visit utladyvols.com and check back with und.com for a complete recap of how the Irish finish up on the final day of competition.