Irish enter ACC-Big 10 challenge
Josh Dulany | Tuesday, April 15, 2014
After finishing fifth at last weekend’s Lake Natoma Invitational, No. 9 Notre Dame heads to Belleville, Mich., to take on No. 2 Ohio State and No. 10 Michigan as part of the ACC-Big Ten Challenge.
Notre Dame’s fifth-place finish saw them come in behind the only four teams with higher rankings in the competition, and the team will be looking to build on that success. Freshman Moira Hamilton said the team is happy with how they are competing.
“There were a lot of really close races this past weekend, as well as a lot of remarkable teams that we had to face,” Hamilton said. “Even though we’re behind them in the rankings, no one let the name on our opponents’ shirts intimidate us. Everyone went out and raced their races, and fought to the finish no matter the competition.”
This weekend’s competition will come against two confident squads, as both the Buckeyes and the Wolverines got convincing wins in their last events. Ohio State swept a field including No. 19 Louisville, and Michigan spent last weekend earning wins over Minnesota and No. 15 Wisconsin. Hamilton said the Irish recognize the challenge ahead but feel prepared to face anyone.
“We haven’t raced either team since the fall and both teams are formidable forces,” Hamilton said. “It will come down to who’s there to get up and race on Saturday. I think our team is hungry for some first-place finishes, so hopefully it will be us.”
Indeed, the Irish finished runner up in nine of their races in Folsom, Calif., so Hamilton said the team will be looking to show improvement.
“There are always improvements to make in our sport, even if you’re a world class rower,” Hamilton said. “Across the board we’re looking to make up those extra seconds that these other teams have on us right now. We all just have to make the most of each practice, and keep working together to create more unified and connected strokes.”
The Irish had nearly a month-long break before competing in Folsom but now are in the middle of a stretch where they will be competing on three-straight weekends. Hamilton said this has raised the pressure on the team, but that the team is confident in themselves, their coaching and all the work they have put in.
“It’s of course stressful because we’re constantly racing, and this helps determine our bid for NCAAs,” Hamilton said. “But we’ve been putting in the hours all winter, getting a solid base. We’re all ready to race, and having consecutive races just keeps you in that competitive mindset. As [Irish coach Martin Stone] always says, ‘Trust in the process.’ I think that all the work we’ve put in is setting us up for a successful spring.”
Notre Dame will look to build on their success Saturday in Belleville, Mich., where the competition will feature a morning and afternoon session.