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ND CREW: Irish keep busy with two meets in two days days

Tim Kaiser | Friday, October 28, 2005

Notre Dame will shake off some rust Saturday and compete in the Notre Dame Invitational at 1 p.m. – its first race since Oct. 9. It will then travel to Elkhart, Ind. Sunday for the Head of the Elk regatta.

Because the fall season of rowing is used mostly to prepare for the spring and the NCAA championships, the team was given fall break off, unlike most other varsity athletes at the University.

Despite their limited recent practices, head coach Martin Stone feels that his team is still in pretty good shape.

“We took fall break off; we were out of the boats for 10 days,” Stone said. “We’re just getting our rhythm back. When they left we were in a good place, and we hope to get all the way back to that by Sunday.”

Saturday, Michigan and Michigan State will come to town for the Notre Dame Invitational.

“Michigan and Michigan State are very good,” Stone said. “Both had team bids to the NCAAs last year, and both have shown very good speed this fall.”

Sunday’s Head of the Elk will include rowers from 19 different programs – both regional midwestern schools, and a few of Notre Dame’s Big East rivals, including West Virginia and recent conference additions Louisville and Cincinnati.

Despite the stiff competition, Stone has faith in his team.

“I love the team,” he said. “They’re a great group who are working hard to go fast … The kids love to race, and they’ve got great anticipation for this race.”

The races this weekend will be fun, but then the team must continue to prepare for the upcoming spring season.

“I think both days will be some hard competitive racing,” he said. “At the end of the weekend will we have a general idea of where we rank in the region and how we stack up against some our Big East foes … Fall gives you a rough idea of where you are, and then we don’t race again until March, but the girls have done a good job this fall.”