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No. 20 Irish send two teams to San Diego

Christine Armstrong | Friday, April 2, 2004

The newly ranked Irish will make their third appearance at the 31st annual San Diego Crew Classic this weekend. Notre Dame’s impressive racing last weekend boosted the Irish into No. 20 spot in the season’s first USRowing/Collegiate Rowing Coaches Association poll.

Though Notre Dame was unranked in the preseason poll, with excellent racing, highlighted by a varsity four boat victory and a varsity eight crew second-place finish to No. 2 Michigan in Ann Arbor last weekend, they have earned national recognition.

Currently, Ohio State leads the poll with 383 points and 10 first-place points.

At the Michigan regatta, the Irish also raced No. 8 Michigan State, Clemson and Eastern Michigan. In the first varsity four race, Notre Dame’s crew of coxswain Kathy Long, Katie O’Hara, Danielle Stealy, Pam Jefson and Kristen Mizzi built off a strong lead to win their race three seconds ahead of the Spartans. The Wolverines fell to third in 7:19.9, while the Tigers followed in 7:36.1 and Eastern Michigan took last in 8:02.0.

“The boat had an amazing start which lead to a significant lead during the first quarter of the race,” Mizzi said. “After that, we were incredibly aggressive on every stroke and were able to maintain our lead against four very tough crews.”

The Irish varsity eight boat also boasted an notable second-place finish behind the Wolverines. Though Notre Dame’s coxswain Maureen Gibbons, Natalie Ladine, Alice Bartek, Meghan Boyle, Rachel Polinski, Melissa Felker, Katie Chenoweth, Danielle Protasewich and Jacqueline Hazen maintained a lead 1,000 meters in to the race, Michigan edged them out, crossing the finish line five seconds ahead of the Irish. Clemson took third in 6:34.3 and Eastern Michigan finished in 6:40.2.

The Irish will send two boats to compete in the San Diego Classic. The first varsity eight boat will row in the celebrated Jessop-Whittier Cup. The crew will compete against top-ranked teams such as Stanford, Southern California, Washington State, Tennessee, Washington, California and Texas.

The second varsity eight crew will race in the junior varsity eight.