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Rowing: Irish to race against Big Ten crews

Vicky Jacobsen | Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Irish will challenge three daunting Big Ten crews Saturday when they race Ohio State, Michigan State and Indiana in the Scioto Scrimmage in Columbus, Ohio.

“I would expect very competitive [races],” Irish coach Martin Stone said. “Ohio State and Michigan State were both at the NCAAs last year, and Indiana had a good crew last year, and I think they’re stronger, so I think it’ll be very competitive.”

Notre Dame has not raced since Oct. 23 when the Irish four boat took fifth place in the Head of the Charles Regatta, the second best finish among collegiate crews. The team was supposed to travel to Indianapolis for a scrimmage against Indiana on Sunday, but conditions on the water forced the schools to cancel the meet.

“The weather was too bad and the water was too rough to race in,” Stone said.

Although the quality of competition is formidable, the regatta is technically a scrimmage, which allows the coaching staff to give its athletes more instruction.

“It’s a controlled scrimmage, so we’ll go and talk to our athletes between races and go over stuff between pieces,” Stone said, “so it should be a great learning experience for us.”

Although the crews for each boat have not yet been named, Notre Dame will take five eight boats, meaning many members of the large rowing roster will get a taste of competition.

Stone said he would like to see how his crews respond when they are racing opponents other than their teammates.

“We haven’t raced very much,” Stone said. “We’ve had two races and we strive to get better all the time, so that’s what we’d like, particularly in race situations.”

None of the four teams have participated in many events this fall.

The Hoosiers kicked off their fall training season at the Head of the Ohio on Oct. 8 and last competed Oct. 30, when their varsity eight crew claimed eighth place at the Princeton Chase, finishing ahead of reigning champion Brown.

The Buckeyes’ only other scheduled event of the fall was an Oct. 8 exhibition against Michigan in Ann Arbor, Mich., while the Scioto Scrimmage will be the Spartans’ first competition of the fall.

The Irish will hit the water at the Scioto Scrimmage in Columbus, Ohio, this Saturday.

Contact Vicky Jacobsen at vjacobse@nd.edu