Minnesota impresses out East

The Gophers won three races on Saturday but only two on Sunday.

by Jack Satzinger

The Gophers continued their tour of warmer climates over the weekend at the Boston Challenge.

Minnesota topped Dartmouth and Rutgers on Saturday in every race except the first varsity eight. The team followed up with a tough contest against Syracuse on Sunday, winning only two varsity races.

The Gophers made a personnel change in the first varsity eight just before leaving for Boston, and they didn’t have time to adjust their boat prior to race time. Because of that, senior Sarah Sobek was seated too high and had a difficult time making full strokes on the water.

“Her blade was washing out, and she wasn’t being very effective,” head coach Wendy Davis said.

Sobek readjusted her alignment for the competition Sunday, and Davis said the team had more success.

Minnesota’s first varsity eight built a strong lead in its Sunday afternoon race against Syracuse but was eventually passed at the end.

“Syracuse’s coxswain took them on a slightly different course than what was laid out,” Gophers senior coxswain Rachael Rogers said, “and that happened to take them toward shore where there was a lot less wind and a lot less current.”

Rogers raced with the first varsity eight for the first time this weekend, and she said the transition was seamless.

“I was lucky to race with the second [varsity] eight, but the first [varsity] eight just has more experience there,” she said.

Davis said she was happy with the way the first unit looked and that Minnesota’s novice teams swept Syracuse.

Minnesota was the only non-East Coast team that competed over the weekend, and it found itself in uncharted waters. Still, Davis said one of the biggest takeaways from her team’s trip was the team’s ability to adapt.

“You go to a new place that everybody else knows well, and you’ve got lots of unknowns,” she said. “I thought we did a great job of handling the unknowns.

“We’re poised to move on from here and do some good things.”