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Rowing down Highway 31

Christine Armstrong | Thursday, April 8, 2004

The Irish hope to repeat last year’s sweep in the Indiana Classic when they travel to Indianapolis this weekend. Coming off last weekend’s strong performance in the San Diego Crew Classic, No. 20 Notre Dame now readies itself to compete with local rivals. The Irish varsity eight boat raced against top national teams and took seventh place in the esteemed Jessop-Whittier Cup Final last weekend. The second varsity eight boat boasted a second-place finish in the petite final.Maureen Gibbons, cox, Natalie Ladine, Alice Bartek, Meghan Boyle, Rachel Polinski, Melissa Felker, Katie Chenoweth, Danielle Protasewich and Jacqueline Hazen led the first varsity eight to a praiseworthy third place tie in their heat Saturday. Adverse weather conditions, however, were an ominous sign for the team on Sunday as the Irish fell to seventh place.”I felt we pulled our hardest but there were a lot of outside factors that held us back,” Felker said. “It was just a bad race starting right at warm-ups. The boat was full of water, we were in a horrible lane, and the weather was not on our side”No. 2 California won the race in 6 minutes, 57.1 seconds, followed by No. 10 Washing-ton, No. 14 Tennessee, No. 12 Washington State, Wisconsin and No. 11 Southern California. The Irish first varsity eight crossed the finish line in 7:16.90.”Overall, our boat was pleased with our performance in San Diego, especially in the first heat on Saturday,” Protasewich said. “I have never been in a boat that has had this much power, speed, technical ability and competitive drive. Everyone has an outstanding work ethic and we are learning how to row within our boat in order to maintain an internal focus during races.”In the petite final, Notre Dame’s second boat narrowly lost to Texas. The crew of Kacy McCaffrey, cox, Katie Sedun, Kathleen Welsh, Elizabeth Specht, Jenna Redgate, Jessica Guzik, Andrea Doud, Ashley St. Pierre and Megan Sanders finished in 7:12.36, just seconds behind Texas’ winning time of 7:07.67. Finishing behind the Irish boat were UCLA (7:15.66), Stanford (7:18.81), Clemson (7:22.20) and Kansas State (7:23.34).”This weekend reassured us of the potential we have in our boat, but also the work we have ahead of us in order to compete consistently with the best in the country,” Ladine said. “Our goal for this weekend is to perform up to our potential, and to win of course.”The Irish return to Midwest racing this weekend. Notre Dame will race a 2,000-meter course Saturday against Indiana, Purdue and Michigan State.