Illness and injury take their toll on performance in Madison

Josh Katzenstein

Coach Wendy Davis compared the Gophers rowing team to the Minnesota Twins.

Right now, thatâÄôs not a good thing.

Minnesota competed against Wisconsin, and due partly to illnesses and injuries, the Gophers lost five of six races on Lake Mendota in Madison and fell 45-24 based on the Big Ten scoring system. In addition, the Badgers won the inaugural BurninâÄô Blade Award in their first home meet since 2002 by winning the first varsity eight by 4.4 seconds.

With some of the rowers sick, Davis moved Leah Rogotzke and Christine Beauparlant up from the second varsity eight to the first, and although the race was close, team chemistry was lacking.

âÄúYouâÄôre responsible for your seat and your oar and thatâÄôs really all you can control,âÄù captain Teresa Logemann said. âÄúThatâÄôs what healthy people are focusing on.âÄù

The lineup shift also affected the second varsity eight, which lost to Wisconsin by 9.4 seconds in a race Davis said was never really close.

âÄúWisconsin got a lead early and just extended it. That was probably one of the toughest races to watch as the coach,âÄù she said, adding that she plans to adjust the seating of the boat. âÄúWe were never really in the race.âÄù

The GophersâÄô first varsity four lost by 3 seconds, and the second varsity four lost by more than 20 seconds.

In the novice division, the Gophers lost the first boat by about 4 seconds, but the second boat finished 4 seconds ahead of the Badgers.

The Gophers now have two weeks to prepare for the Big Ten championships. Practice is difficult without a healthy team and even more difficult with finals coming up. The 40-degree weather and high winds in which the teams competed Sunday certainly didnâÄôt help either.

Logemann said she expects a tough week of practice, but when someone in one of the boats is hurt or sick, the women have to row on machines or in groups of six instead of eight.

âÄúYou literally canâÄôt practice,âÄù Davis said. âÄúYou canâÄôt row with seven. You take it out and then they row it in by sixes, so youâÄôve ruined the practice but thatâÄôs the way it is. ThatâÄôs life.âÄù

The Gophers should benefit from this yearâÄôs schedule change. The conference meet is normally the first weekend in May and just a week after the teamâÄôs final race of the regular season.