Success brewing following upset of UCLA

No. 19 Minnesota beat No. 14 UCLA on Saturday at Lake Phalen in St. Paul.

Emily Wickstrom

After last week’s disappointing loss to Southern California, Minnesota’s rowing team felt it was ready to take a big step for the program.

The 19th-ranked Gophers did just that Saturday when their First Varsity Eight boat defeated No. 14 UCLA by a time of 6:10.0 to 6:13.96 at Lake Phalen in St. Paul.

Southern Methodist finished third in a time of 6:48.5.

“This is so exciting,” junior Cheryl Wick said. “It’s hard to say how cool it is to know we can race a team like (UCLA) and win against a good crew. I don’t think it could have come at a better time.”

Minnesota started the race tense, Wick said, but found its rhythm after the first 500 meters.

Gophers coach Wendy Davis said, “I’m so pleased for the whole team. I’ve known that the Varsity One boat was ready to take this step. The signs were there all spring.”

The Gophers got their revenge after losing to the Bruins by more than 20 seconds in November.

Davis said Minnesota should receive more respect and move up in the national rankings after beating a top-15 team.

Minnesota’s Second Varsity Eight boat did not fare as well, losing to UCLA by a time of 6:22.63 to 6:29.32.

“I was disappointed for our (Second Varsity Eight),” Davis said. “They allowed the possibility to get to them and didn’t handle the situation as well.”

Southern Methodist pulled out of the Varsity Four race, so the two Minnesota boats scrimmaged. The “B” boat defeated the “A” boat 7:19.1 to 7:20.28.

Both Gophers novice boats defeated Southern Methodist, with the “A” boat easily winning in a time of 6:30.4.

All the teams had to deal with a time adjustment, with the races being moved from 10 a.m. to 7 a.m. because of forecasted heavy winds. There were whitecaps on the water immediately following the last race.

Members of the First Varsity Eight boat said they felt the win will increase their confidence going into the Big Ten Championships on April 30.

“It was one of our biggest wins for us as a team,” senior Beth Ratterman said. “I think we have a good chance at Big Tens of repeating our success, and I hope we have a better chance of going to nationals.”

Davis said it was refreshing for the First Varsity Eight to finally make its national mark.

“I’ve known what we’re going after and felt confident we could do it,” she said. “You never know when you’ll turn the corner, and it almost happened last week (against the Trojans). I was certain we were ready for this.

“The whole program has that attitude.”