Minnesota cruises to victory in Iowa City

The Gophers didn’t lose an event all day, dominating their competition.

by Nick Gerhardt

The Minnesota rowing team went to Iowa City, Iowa, with a job to do – the Gophers accomplished their goals, winning every event against Iowa and Creighton.

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iowa & wisconsin
when: 10 a.m. Saturday
where: Lake Phalen, St. Paul

“We went there to win and we won by a lot. It’s nice when you win by 13 seconds,” senior Megan Flannery said.

Despite poor weather conditions and mechanical problems, Minnesota looked dominant on Saturday.

Coach Wendy Davis said the first varsity eight sat on the starting line for 15 minutes due to a mechanical breakdown, but overcame that problem to prevail.

“We didn’t race well, but we had a nice margin of victory,” she said.

The first varsity eight had a time of 6:35.98 seconds, and the second varsity eight had a time of 6:47:70. Iowa’s top two had times of 6:48:56 and 7:06:28, while Creighton’s top two boats posted times of 7:26:03 and 7:37:12.

The Gophers also had to reshuffle their lineups following an injury to senior Maggie Armstrong. Minnesota hopes to have her back in time for the Big Ten schedule, Davis said.

Although the Hawkeyes and the Bluejays are not powerhouses in rowing, Minnesota employed different methods for motivation.

“Our coxswain pretended like we were racing (Wisconsin). It was nice to see where we stand,” senior captain Cheryl Wick said.

The Gophers’ second eight boat rowed well, beating Iowa’s first boat in overall time.

“You want depth on your team, and it was nice to see the second boat coming together nicely,” Wicks said.

That depth will be crucial for the team as it looks to make the NCAA tournament as a team this year.

The novice boats also performed well in the event, which is encouraging, Davis said.

“The novices did a nice job because Creighton and Iowa beat us earlier in the season and they face Iowa two more times this year,” Davis said.

Minnesota, ranked number 10 in the polls, will face tough opponents this coming weekend when it travels to Boston to face Boston University, Dartmouth, and Yale, which is ranked fifth in the nation.

It will be a reunion trip for Davis, who coached at Yale from 1993 to 1997. She hopes to gain respect for the Minnesota program she has engineered.

“Yale is really fast and it’s going to be real fun. I have a lot of respect for those programs,” Davis said.

The Gophers expect to make waves this year and will try to prove themselves against the well-established programs of the east coast.

“We pride ourselves on our strength and ability to endure,” Flannery said.

Flannery said that Boston University is very strong in the second half of the race, and the Gophers will have to rely on their strength to have a good showing.

The weather conditions will be a factor once again when Minnesota travels to Boston, and after dealing with whitecaps on the water this weekend, Flannery thinks the team is better prepared for difficult circumstances.

“We’re kind of nervous because it is a big race and one of the only times we get to see these teams before the NCAA tournament,” Flannery said.