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Rowing: Irish face top two teams

Brendan Bell | Friday, April 19, 2013

After two weeks away from competition, Notre Dame will return to the water and warmer weather in Sacramento, Calif., for the Lake Natoma Invitational. 

Sophomore Stella Willoughby said the two weeks since the Irish’s last competition against Ohio State and Michigan have prepared them well for the contest.  

“We put two weeks in, and they have been intense but good for the team,” Willoughby said. “Unfortunately, it has been a challenge to get in the boat and practice recently with the recent weather. We have not been able to get as many pieces in on the water recently, but we will still be ready.”

Notre Dame will have a tough challenge, as the team faces USC, Cal- Berkeley, Wisconsin and Washington State in Sacramento, Calif. USC and Cal are ranked No.1 and No. 2 in the country, respectively.

“We are really glad to be out here in California and will be racing some great teams,” Willoughby said. “It is always good to race fast teams because it brings out the best in competition and us.” 

Willoughby said rowing against such strong programs is an opportunity the team is excited to have, as it is one of the final races in preparation for the Big East and NCAA championships. 

“With the Big East dissolving, it will be especially good to have challenging competition against teams in Sacramento,” she said.

The Irish will bring four boats to the competition, including the first and second varsity-eight boats, and the first and second varsity-four boats.   

“With a small group of girls, we all need to be prepared to step up and make an impact on the outcome of this weekend,” Willoughby said.

The Irish are currently training in California. Races will start Saturday against USC and California, Berkeley in Sacramento, Calif.

Contact Brendan Bell at bbell2@nd.edu