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Rowing: Team travels to face MSU

Brendan Bell | Wednesday, March 27, 2013

 

While most students at Notre Dame will be relaxing over Easter break on campus or at home, the Irish will be competing in a fast-paced race against three other teams in East Lansing, Mich.

Over spring break, the Irish gained experience in Oak Ridge, Tenn., at the Oak Ridge/Cardinal Invitational. The rowers hope to use that momentum io the competition this weekend. 

Sophomore Stella Willoughby said racing in the Oak Ridge/Cardinal Invitational was a great experience.” “Just to have that first race out of the way and get all those jitters out with the start of the season was great.” she said. 

A great challenge for teams early in the season is finding the right set of rowers in each boat. 

“I think [Irish] Coach [Martin] Stone did a great job to get the boats organized,” Willoughby said. “Most of the boats for other teams had more time to get on the water before us, but we had minimal time to get on the water before getting down there. We had five days to adjus, and handled it really well, given the circumstances.”

The team had two weeks since spring break to prepare for this weekend’s races and have been looking at elements that can be improved. “This week we can just continue to grow as a team through our unity as a whole, and also just figure out what lineups are the fastest,” Willoughby said  “This weekend, we will be testing different combinations and will look to put out the fastest combinations for the boats. We are in a good position and better than last year at this time, I think.”

The Irish hope to meet the teams they faced in the Oak Ridge/Cardinal Invitational, such as Virginia, in the national competitions at the end of the year, but for now, the team is focused on its upcoming race against Michigan State, Michigan and Iowa.

“Michigan and Michigan State generally have been very good teams, and we scraped by Michigan State last year and Michigan beat us by a few spots,” Willoughby said.

The conditions will also prove to be a challenge for the Irish.

“The water will be a little bit choppy there,” Willoughby said. “I think we have practiced this week in similar conditions, though, and will be able to handle the situation well.”

Notre Dame will race this Saturday in East Lansing, Mich.  

Contact Brendan Bell at bbell2@nd.edu