Minnesota dominates Iowa in duel

The Gophers won four of the five events en route to the win over the rival Hawkeyes.

by Kent Erdahl

Poor conditions made Minnesota’s rowing team wait an extra day to compete in its first Big Ten dual against Iowa over the weekend. But the extra time did not slow down the Gophers on the water.

Minnesota rode its recent tide of success by capturing four of five events in Iowa City, Iowa.

“I’m very pleased,” coach Wendy Davis said. “It’s the first time we’ve done this to Iowa.”

The Gophers dominated the Varsity Eight races by sweeping the first- and second-team competitions.

Minnesota also topped Iowa in the Novice Eight races, which are made up of first-year rowers.

The team’s only losses came in Varsity Four action. But Iowa used rowers from its Varsity Eight team to win the event, a strategy that is not allowed during the postseason.

The dual victory was significant for Minnesota because Iowa has been one of the team’s biggest conference rivals over the last four years.

Although the Gophers’ First Varsity Eight team was favored to win, Davis was impressed with the performance.

“They feel a pretty substantial amount of pressure because of expectations,” she said. “Today, I think that load was lifted.”

The boat won with a time of 6:58.6, while Iowa clocked a time of 7:00.3. Competing in the shell were coxswain Katherine Nelson, Jackie Gagner, Melissa Roche, Heidi Rose, Vilma Stragyt, Beth Ratterman, Andrea Pierce, Sam Wangsgard and Jill Peters at bow.

Minnesota extended its recent dominance in Second Varsity Eight competition with its third-straight victory.

The boat won in a time of 7:07.2, while the Hawkeyes finished with a time of 7:18.5.

“They’re the real deal,” Davis said of the shell. “By the first 10 seconds, it was clear how things would end up.”

The Gophers’ final victories came in First and Second Novice competition.

The teams finished with times of 7:11.1 and 7:32.7, respectively.

Davis was proud of all of the teams, and she emphasized the teams’ winning mentality.

“We know that it is impossible to defend another team in rowing,” she said. “So we just go out and do our thing.”