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Rowing: Irish travel for their first race

By Brendan Bell | Thursday, March 7, 2013

The women’s rowing team will compete in its first race of the spring season over break, as the Irish will travel to Oak Ridge, Tenn. for the Oak Ridge/Cardinal Invitational on March 16 and 17.

Sophomore Stella Willoughby said the team’s spring break trip to Tennessee will provide an opportunity for the team to improve early in the season.”Spring break is our big week to race against each other,” Willoughby said. “There are formal races, but in a more informal setting and so it has a more relaxed feel.”

Notre Dame will send between 35 and 40 women out of the team’s approximately 80 rowers.

“The selection for the race was pretty rigorous and it is pretty exciting for all the girls racing.” Willoughby said. “We will be training about three times per day and it is usually a good time to bond and grow closer and synchronize in the boat.”

Willoughby said the team is highly motivated this season and geared to perform well this weekend.

“We were ranked as 19th in the country preseason, and we finished 15th last year, and so it is motivation for us,” Willoughby said. “That is our ultimate goal to win Big Easts and get to the NCAA tournament.”

Part of this determination has shown itself in the workouts the Irish rowers have completed over the past few months.

“Training has been awesome, it has been really tough and according to the upper classmen it has been one of the hardest seasons,” Willoughby said. ” That being said, it has remained as such a big team with around 80 girls and that means walk-ons are not quitting and are really enjoying it.”

According to Willoughby, the training will not only benefit the Irish during their trip to Tennessee but also throughout the season.

“We have had a big cardio buildup and that will be beneficial as the season goes on and we know that we have the training needed at the end of the season during the conference and national season,” she said.

Willoughby said the invitational will provide the Irish an opportunity to measure themselves against other schools.”These races give us an opportunity to size up the other teams and see how the other teams are looking early on.” Willoughby said.

On March 16, Notre Dame will have its first race against Duke and Kansas followed by a race against Virginia and Georgetown. Virginia was ranked No. 1 in the preseason and also won the national championship last year. On March 17, the Irish will race Louisville and Miami.

Contact Brendan Bell at bbell2@nd.edu