Gophers poised to crack polls after sweep of Iowa

Minnesota won all five events Saturday against the 15th-ranked Hawkeyes.

Emily Wickstrom

Although Minnesota’s rowing team beat Iowa twice in fall races, the Hawkeyes entered Saturday’s race ranked No. 15 in the country while the Gophers were unranked.

But the polls will likely change, as Minnesota defeated Iowa in all five races Saturday in Iowa City, Iowa.

“I was expecting that we’d be faster, but Iowa is always a scary team to race against,” Minnesota coach Wendy Davis said. “They do a good job preparing their team.”

The First Varsity Eight was the only close race, as the Gophers boat consisting of Megan Flannery, Beth Ratterman, Cheryl Wick, Jillian Casey, Vilma Stragyte, Erika Bartkute, Laura Jatautaite, Lida Storch and Berit Tomten beat Iowa in a time of 7:07 to 7:08.12

“It was a really good accomplishment,” senior Ratterman said. “We’re fairly confident in our abilities. We knew that if we worked together, we had a really good chance of beating them.”

The Gophers won all of the other races handily, defeating Iowa by nearly 12 seconds with a time of 7:02.8 in the Second Varsity Eight.

In the Varsity Four race, Minnesota boats placed first and second with times of 8:16.8 and 8:30.76, respectively. Iowa finished third at 8:41.63.

The novice team also won, beating Iowa 7:15.4 to 7:48.81.

Davis said the depth of Minnesota’s program showed in its winning every race.

“The fact that they were ranked No. 15 in the country and we went to their course and beat them was really positive for us,” she said. “Like any sport, when you go to someone’s home course, you have to be concerned.”

Though beating Iowa was an accomplishment, Davis said it is important for her team to remember it is still early in the season.

If anything, beating Iowa should result in Minnesota moving into the national polls.

“We should be ranked, and we will be very surprised if we’re not,” Davis said.

Minnesota rowers said the race should give them confidence for harder races throughout the season.

“I’m really excited to see what we can do when we get into some tough Big Ten competition,” junior Katie Biese said. “I think we’re sitting in a really good position right now.”