Rowers make best of tough conditions, easy foes

by Jabari Ritchie

Minnesota’s rowing team didn’t find much competition in Saturday’s Twin Cities All Comers Regatta, but the Gophers felt that it was a good way to kick off the fall rowing season.

In the regatta, Minnesota dominated races against St. Thomas, Macalester and rowing clubs from Minneapolis and St. Paul. The Gophers finished ahead of their competitors in both the novice and varsity races.

“We’ve got a nice starting off spot,” said coach Wendy Davis, whose team will face larger schools in four out-of-state races this month. “You never know how you’re going to do against the Wisconsins and the Michigans until you get there. We’re not quite at their level yet, but I hope to be there in the spring.”

On Saturday, Minnesota divided its varsity rowers evenly on three boats to give the Gophers a chance to compete with each other.

“The Minnesota boats were racing together and that was fun,” junior Angela Hedin said. “Fighting against your teammates is sometimes fun and it makes other people work hard.”

Sophomore Tricia Whitney agreed:

“I think it’s good for us to practice racing against each other because it builds our team up and makes us stronger rowers,” she said. “Everyone pushing everyone is how good teams come about.”

Davis said the team raced well Saturday, despite windy conditions.

“It looked pretty good,” she said. “It was kind of rough out there with the wind. It was just getting to where the water’s whitecapping and those are always tough conditions to look good in, but everybody was pulling hard. When it’s rough, that’s about all you can do.”

The regatta was the first time this year that Minnesota has rowed the entire fall racing distance, even in practices. The Gophers approached the race as a tune-up to the rest of the year.

Minnesota travels to Rockford, Ill., for the Head of the Rock regatta next Sunday. Several Big Ten teams will also compete.

“Next weekend should be a lot of fun,” said junior Amber Riopel, who was named to the second All-Big Ten team last season.

“There wasn’t much competition here, as far as bigger schools, but I think it was a good way to start our racing season as we go into Rockford next weekend.”

Saturday’s regatta was Minnesota’s only in-state race before the spring season.

“Even though the adrenaline does get a little high for a race like this, it’s nothing compared to what it’s going to be like next weekend,” Riopel said. “It’s kind of good to race and be relaxed so you know what it feels like. Then when we’re thrown into the big races in the next few weeks we’ll be more prepared.”

Women’s tennis wins

Minnesota’s Valerie Vladea and Michaela Havelkova were victorious in the Flight A doubles competition at the Rice Tennis Classic in Houston over the weekend.

Cici Anderson and Kelly Perry won the Flight B doubles title.

Women’s hockey
ranked 6th

The USA Today/American Hockey Magazine rated Minnesota as the nations sixth-best team in its preseason poll. The defending WCHA champions will play eight teams ranked in the top 10 this season.

Defending national champion Minnesota-Duluth was ranked first.

Men’s golf ties for third

Minnesota’s men’s golf team tied for third Wednesday in the Adams Cup in Newport, R.I. The Gophers shot a final round 293 to finish 10 shots behind tournament champion New Mexico.

Sophomores Justin Smith and Simon Nash finished individually in a tie for fifth, seven shots behind the winner.


Jabari Ritchie covers rowing and welcomes comments at [email protected]