March 28, 2014
MADISON, Wis. -- With the long-lasting Wisconsin winter preventing any opportunity for open-water practice, it might seem as if the Wisconsin women’s lightweight rowing team is at a disadvantage heading into the 2014 spring season. But the 2014 USRowing preseason poll begs to differ, as UW’s crew was ranked second amongst the nation’s top lightweight rowing programs, the organization announced Wednesday.
Topping the poll was Stanford with 156 points, followed closely by Wisconsin with 141 points. Harvard-Radcliffe checked in third with 136 points, and Princeton and Boston University rounded out the top five with 134 and 127, respectively.
The Wisconsin lightweights finished the 2013 season on a high note, sending boats to the grand final races of the 2013 Intercollegiate Rowing Association National Championships in both the varsity four and varsity eight events.
The Badgers’ varsity four boat finished on top, defeating Harvard-Radcliffe by a five-second margin to claim its third-straight national title. UW’s varsity eight crew earned third after finishing behind boats from Stanford and Harvard-Radcliffe.
The Badgers hope to build on last season’s success this year, but have only had the opportunity to put their boats in open water once so far this season during their season-opener at the 2014 Cardinal Invitational on March 15-16 in Oak Ridge, Tenn.
UW faced tough competition on the first day of the invite, racing against openweight crews from Michigan State University and the University of Tennessee in their first open-water experience of the season. Michigan State claimed victories in both the varsity eight and second varsity eight races, followed by Tennessee boats. Wisconsin took third in both events.
The Badgers concluded the Cardinal Invitational the following day with races against openweight squads from the University of Dayton. Dayton finished the 2,000-meter course in 7:02.700, just seconds before UW could cross the line at 7:06.344. But Wisconsin battled back for a first-place finish in the second varsity eight event, with the Badgers checking in at 7:14.200 before Dayton’s 7:46.293 completion time.
Wisconsin continues to prepare for the next competition on its spring racing schedule, the Knecht Cup in Cherry Hill, N.J., on April 13.
Link to the poll: