Second varsity eight wins twice in blustery Boston

Josh Katzenstein

MinnesotaâÄôs second varsity eight rowing boat had an impressive weekend, fighting off tough weather and strong competition to win both its heats at the Charles River Challenge in Boston.

The GophersâÄô second-best boat held off Radcliffe by half a second Saturday, with Dartmouth and Syracuse taking third and fourth. On Sunday, the same group again won the B heat, finishing 10 seconds ahead of second-place Louisville.

âÄúThe 2V is doing an incredible job,âÄù said Molly Kalmoe, whose first varsity eight finished third Saturday and second Sunday. âÄúTheyâÄôre setting a really good example for the team, and hopefully we can follow their lead.âÄù

All teams had to deal with tough weather conditions, namely 20-plus mphwinds on the river Saturday. Head coach Wendy Davis said she was surprised the first varsity eight didnâÄôt capsize on the first day of the meet.

âÄúWe got to row in some pretty incredible conditions. IâÄôve never seen anything like it,âÄù Kalmoe said. âÄúI think it let us kind of test ourselves in those waters as well as against these crews that we donâÄôt regularly see.âÄù

The top boat finished nearly 14 seconds behind first-place Dartmouth and 6 seconds behind Radcliffe. The group came in second in SundayâÄôs heat, but struggled to keep pace with Louisville during the final stretch of the race.

âÄúWe kind of imploded,âÄù Davis said of the teamâÄôs final sprint, which left the Gophers 6 seconds behind the Cardinals but still ahead of Syracuse and Boston University. âÄúWe were right there until the 250 meters.âÄù

MinnesotaâÄôs third competing boat was the first varsity four, which finished fourth of four teams Saturday. The boat finished second Sunday, but still lagged 25 seconds behind BU.

âÄúThe four is starting to get better. WeâÄôre just so far behind,âÄù Davis said.

With only a dual against Wisconsin remaining before the Big Ten championships, the Gophers have still spent more time on the water for meets than practice. The team spent three days on Lake Phalen before this weekendâÄôs meet, and Davis said more practice time at home will give her a chance to adjust the lineups and seating.

âÄúWe havenâÄôt had a chance to do anything yet as far as looking at personnel and who should sit where,âÄù Davis said. âÄúIâÄôm looking forward to trying different combinations and actually training.âÄù

The Gophers have a weekend off before facing the Badgers May 1 in Madison.

âÄúWe just have to come back and put in a solid two weeks of work,âÄù Davis said.