Gophers drop sole home regatta

Minnesota lost every race to the Badgers at Lake Phalen on Sunday.

Minnesota's rowing team competes against Wisconsin at Lake Phalen in St. Paul on Sunday morning. Wisconsin won every race of the regatta.

Minnesota’s rowing team competes against Wisconsin at Lake Phalen in St. Paul on Sunday morning. Wisconsin won every race of the regatta.

Jack Satzinger

The Gophers lost every race to Wisconsin on Sunday, but a crowd of about 100 fans still stayed all morning to cheer at Minnesota’s only home regatta since the 2011-12 season.

The Gophers’ rowers were all smiles after the races concluded, snapping photos with friends and family on Lake Phalen’s sun-soaked shore.

“We weren’t happy with how the races went, but the atmosphere made it so much fun for us,” co-captain Chelsea Miller said. “When you have spectators, it’s a big deal. It makes a difference.”

Nearly all of Miller’s family attended the races, taking advantage of the event’s close proximity to campus.

Paul Windsor, father of Gophers co-captain Katherine Windsor, has traveled across the Midwest to watch races but said he was relieved to watch his daughter race at home.

“It’s just a privilege to be able to come locally and not have to travel too far,” he said. “And at this part of the season, it’s good to get something local.”

A handful of Badgers fans also attended on Sunday. Wisconsin didn’t host a regatta this season.

“It’s not that far,” said Renee Manion, mother of Badgers rower Kelly Manion. “It’s a beautiful day with beautiful weather.”

Minnesota was hoping to give its fans a victory on the beautiful day, but No. 15 Wisconsin got in the way.

The Badgers won each race handily, bursting out of the gates and gliding over the water en route to a sweep.

“They are fitter than us right now. They’re stronger than us,” Miller said. “We raced our race and did the best we could given what we had to work with right now.”

Gophers head coach Wendy Davis called the Badgers a “top-10 crew.”

Davis said the Gophers’ priority is getting more water time and getting healthy before the Big Ten championships May 18.

“We’re really proud of how far we’ve come with the lack of water time we’ve had,” Windsor said.

The Gophers have lacked water time due to a multitude of environmental factors, ranging from freezing temperatures to the Mississippi River flooding.

Last weekend, extreme weather canceled Minnesota’s regatta at Iowa, which actually gave the Gophers more time to train on the water.

In hopes of replicating Sunday’s environment, Davis said the team is planning to host a home race against either Iowa or Wisconsin every year moving forward.