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Women’s Crew: Rowers ready to churn waters of Mission Bay

Tim Kaiser | Friday, March 31, 2006

This weekend the Irish will travel to southern California to race in the San Diego Classic.

The races, which will host over 3,500 competitors, will be held in Mission Bay in San Diego. Both men’s and women’s college teams will compete, along with club teams from all age groups. Thousands of spectators are expected to attend the event, which is one of the most popular the Irish compete in every year.

Rowing relies on its premier national events, like the Classic, to raise interest in the sport. College coaches use the Classic to scout high school programs for good rowers.

The Classic began in 1976, a joint effort between the San Diego Rowing Club and the ZLAC Rowing Club for women, and the first event featured eight schools from the west coast and the Naval Academy.

This year’s event will feature the Naval Academy, Washington, Long Beach State, San Diego State, UC-San Diego, UCLA, UC-Santa Barbara, Harvard, Yale, Stanford, UC-Berkeley, Duke and Virginia.

The Irish will compete for the Jessop-Whittier Cup, the top honor for women at the Classic. The cup features eight-person races. Notre Dame’s probable varsity line-up will consist of coxswain Maria Romano and rowers Julie Sobolewski, Amanda Polk, Mary Quinn, Laura Pearson, Allison Marsh, Melissa Felker, Megan Boyle and Sarah Palandech. They will look to improve upon last year’s time of 7:03.21, which earned them eighth place. Teams of Irish rowers will also compete in the JV and Novice races.

The Irish fared well in their last competition, winning six of seven races at the Lubbers Cup in Grand Rapids, Mich. despite hailstorms and turbulent water.

Irish head coach Martin Stone was pleased with his team’s performance and is looking forward to seeing what his team can do at the Classic.

“I thought we raced well and hard under hard conditions,” Stone said after last weekend’s competition in Grand Rapids. “I’m happy how we handled the racing conditions, and I could see that each of our boats had improved from the previous week. As I told the team, they can be happy with their performance today, but we now need to focus on next weekend’s regatta at the San Diego Crew Classic.”

The races begin at 7:30 a.m. on both Saturday and Sunday, and end at 2:30 p.m.