UW Health Sports Medicine 

Wisconsin men's rowers show big improvement at Eastern Sprints


May 18, 2014

WORCESTER, Mass. - The Wisconsin men's rowing team did some winning Sunday on Lake Quinsigamond at the 2014 Eastern Association of Rowing Colleges Championships, also known as the Eastern Sprints. There was one title and two other petite final wins to help the Badgers place fifth in the battle for the Rowe Cup, which goes to the overall points champion at Sprints.

UW raced in its morning heat in the headlining varsity eight and placed fourth against eventual Sprints-champion Harvard. Boston University took second, with Cornell a hair behind in third. Despite just the top two from each heat advancing to the final, Cornell moved on due to late interference with a mute swan in its lane. The crew finished just over a tenth of a second behind BU for the second qualifying spot even with the swan getting in the way.

In the afternoon petite final, UW felt what it's like to win, crossing the finish line in 5:35.998, just under two seconds ahead of second place Columbia (5:37.901). The result gave the Badgers an eighth-place finish overall, which was three spots better than their seeding.

"We joked about hitting the bottom and I think the bottom is behind us now," head coach Chris Clark said. "The guys stepped up. Our [varsity eight] seed going into Sprints was 11th, and we finished eighth and we also won the petite final. The grand final had seven boats because of some controversy in the heats.

"They led wire to wire. The first really good race we've had all year. It was about eight seconds back from Harvard's winning time which is impressive for me considering how far back we were just a few weeks ago. We were not even in the same sport almost, and now they are really starting to cook, so that is good."

The top-nine result earns the Badgers an automatic qualifying spot into the 2014 Intercollegiate Rowing Association National Championships, which take place May 30-June 1 in West Windsor, New Jersey.

"This group has a lot more talent than even they believe they have," Clark added. "I was very happy to see such a big, big jump in their performance over just a couple of weeks."

The second varsity eight produced results similar to the varsity eight, winning the petite final and claiming seventh place. After placing third in their morning heat, the second varsity eight clocked a 5:46.018 to edge Cornell's time of 5:46.473 and climb four spots higher than their seeded entering the regatta. Northeastern won the grand final.

"The second varsity really had a rough go in the heat, but in the petite final, they won going away," Clark stated. "It was our 11th row of the week, and it really paid off. You could see that. Just the amount of rowing we've done lately - in the last couple of weeks we had 20-plus outings and it really paid off. If these were social classes, we would certainly be in the middle class right now, but it is a lot better than where  we've been."

Wisconsin's third varsity eight recovered from a tough morning heat to grab second in the petite final and eighth overall, besting their seed by two spots. Yale captured the petite final in 5:50.005, with Wisconsin second in 5:52.207. Brown won the grand final in the event.

"The third boat had some misadventure in the heat," Clark described. "They took off in the lead, but then one of the kids popped off his seat. At that point you should stop rowing. It is within 100 meters, but instead they kept rowing and finished last in their qualifying heat. They went to the second-level final and finished eighth so that was a little better."

The freshman eight matched their seed with a fourth-place finish. After falling to Harvard by just under a second in the morning heats, the Badgers clocked 5:41.970 for their fourth-place in the grand final. Brown won the frosh title in 5:38.142, with Harvard (5:38.761) and Cornell (5:41.970) grabbing the rest of the medals.

"The first frosh had a good heat against Harvard and came in second, but ended up a tight fourth place," explained Clark. "We were in fourth place last year, but double-digit seconds out of the win, and this year four or five seconds out, so much better. The freshmen are coming. They were disappointed not to win a medal. The freshmen haven't medaled in 11 years, so I'm looking forward to that. It was a lot better. If anyone is going to improve in the next two weeks, it will be those guys with all those novices in that boat."

Wrapping up the day was UW's second freshman eight, which won, just as the seeds predicted. In a finals-only race, the Badgers timed 5:56.315 to cruise to victory over second-place Navy (6:05.502). Pennsylvania was third in 6:11.168.

"The second freshman won for the fourth year in a row," Clark said. "That was our one win. That was the least prestigious race that we entered, but that didn't stop those guys from being or happy or for us to be happy for them.

"Now, we are all looking forward to getting started for IRA preparation."

2014 Eastern Association of Rowing Colleges Champsionships (Eastern Sprints)
Sunday, May 18, 2014
Worcester, Mass.
Lake Quinsigamond
2000 meters

Rowe Cup Team Standings
1. Harvard, 35; 2. Brown, 35; 3. Northeastern, 24; 4. Princeton, 23; 5. Cornell, 22; 6. Wisconsin, 21; 7. Navy, 20; 8. Boston University, 17; 9. Yale, 10; 10. Pennsylvania, 8; 11. George Washington, 8; 12. Columbia, 8; 13. Georgetown, 7; 14. Dartmouth, 6; 15. Syracuse, 2; 16. Rutgers, MIT, Holy Cross, 0

Varsity Eight
Petite Final (Places 8-12)
1. Wisconsin, 5:35.998; 2. Columbia, 5:37.901; 3. Navy, 5:38.710; 4. Pennsylvania, 5:40.241; 5. Dartmouth, 5:47.379

Heat 2 (Top two to grand final, 3-4 to petite final, 5-6 to third-level final)
1. Harvard, 5:35.117; 2. Boston University, 5:35.532; 3. Cornell, 5:35.660; 4. Wisconsin, 5:42.373; 5. Syracuse, 5:43.892; 6. Rutgers, 6:04.365

Coxswain Leonard Manning, Patrick Muto, Peter Ginouves, Kyle Anderson, Michael Lindberg, Kevin Ripley, George Perrett, Matt Sobotka, Garret Voorhees

Second Varsity Eight
Petite Final (Places 7-12)
1. Wisconsin, 5:46.018; 2. Cornell, 5:46.473; 3. Dartmouth, 5:48.562; 4. Columbia, 5:51.247; 5. Syracuse, 5:51.356; 6. Yale, 5:56.723

Heat 2 (Top two to grand final, 3-4 to petite final, 5-6 to third-level final)
1. Boston University, 5:43.868; 2. Brown, 5:45.724; 3. Wisconsin, 5:49.906; 4. Yale, 5:53.213; 5. George Washington, 5:53.290; 6. MIT, 6:19.711

Coxswain James Roen, William Bleifuss, Ross McCaig, Travis Breunig, Vince Bertram, Michael Knippen, John Rush, William Horvat, Logan Hietpas

Freshman Eight
Grand Final (Places 1-6)
1. Brown, 5:38.142; 2. Harvard, 5:38.761; 3. Cornell, 5:41.970; 4. Wisconsin, 5:44.079; 5. George Washington, 5:48.998; 6. Georgetown, 5:54.127

Heat 1 (Top three to grand final, rest to petite final)
1. Harvard, 5:49.109; 2. Wisconsin, 5:50.011; 3. George Washington, 6:03.124; 4. Pennsylvania, 6:08.167

Coxswain Luke Sidoti, James Lueken, Laing Wise, Bryce Lackey, Steven Thom, Joseph Benthein, Sam Helle, Sam Weeks, Alex Idarraga

Third Varsity Eight
Petite Final (Places 7-12)
1. Yale, 5:50.005; 2. Wisconsin, 5:52.207; 3. Dartmouth, 5:52.912; 4. Harvard, 5:58.358; 5. Columbia, 5:58.547; 6. Syracuse, 6:03.022

Heat 3 (Top two to grand final, 3-4 to petite final)
1. Navy, 5:50.102; 2. Princeton, 5:50.688; 3. Syracuse, 5:53.608; 4. Wisconsin, 5:56.963

Coxswain Ben Flaherty, Beau Batty, Woodrow Stensland, Josiah Kaiser, John Goodman, Mark Nitka, Mitchell King, Charlie Clapp, Jonathan Smaglick

Second Freshman Eight
Grand Final (Places 1-3)
1. Wisconsin, 5:56.315; 2. Navy, 6:05.502; 3. Pennsylvania, 6:11.168

Coxswain Andrew Hamilton, Peter Burrus, Jack Spencer, Thomas Hasle, Will Knight, Max Cronyn, Nigel Baummer, Alex Horvath, John French

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