Irish prepare for test in Ohio
Brett O'Connell | Friday, March 27, 2015
No. 12 Notre Dame heads to Columbus, Ohio, this coming weekend to take part in the annual Big Ten-ACC Double Duels on Saturday.
After their first regatta of the spring two weeks ago in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, the Irish rowers have taken advantage of the changing weather to take to the water on the St. Joseph River in preparation for their trip to Columbus this coming weekend, junior Katie Scorcz said. The Irish will face a slate of both conference and out-of-conference foes during the regatta, including clashes with host and two-time defending national champion Ohio State, the No. 1 team in the country.
Scorcz praised her team’s work ethic during this week’s practices, citing the unpredictable South Bend weather as a vexing — but useful — obstacle during their outdoor training.
“We were on the water on Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday,” Scorcz said. “We’ve been focusing on the same skill and drill activities that we’ve been doing every day. Luckily, we’ve been on the water most every day since we’ve been back. … We’ve had to work a little bit more against the wind and the current this week. It can make it a bit slower for our racers and it can offset the boat — it’s been a bit unfortunate, but it has been good practice for Columbus, where it is supposed to be pretty cold and windy. I think we’re better prepared for that after this week.”
Scorcz also said she was pleased with the team’s difficult nonconference schedule – including teams like Ohio State, Michigan and Yale — citing the slate’s relative rigor as both an opportunity to get better and make a statement to the NCAA selection committee.
“We don’t get to row against every team — we only race five times in the year, including the ACC championships. From there, all the teams who place first in their conference go to the NCAA tournament,” Scorcz said. “But there are 10-20 at-large bids, so the more we race out of conference can help us get one of those.”
Scorcz said the example of last year’s Yale squad served as motivation for the team to strengthen its non-conference scheduling.
“Last year, Yale did not race out of conference,” she said. “[They were] arguably one of the fastest teams, but because they didn’t race out of conference, they didn’t get the opportunity to compare against other people. Harvard won the Ivy League championship and Yale didn’t get the at-large bid because they didn’t have the opportunity to race competitors out of conference.”
The team is especially excited to face quality competition like Ohio State, Scorcz said.
“Ohio State’s going to put up a really good fight,” she said. “They were number one the past two years. It’s a little unrealistic to think that we’ll come in and stomp on them, so we’re going to use them as a measure. I’m not going to say we don’t have it in us to beat them — I think the expectation is that we use our race with them as an opportunity to really measure ourselves.”
The Irish travel to Columbus, Ohio, on Thursday night. They will spend Friday training before competing in their second regatta of the year – the Big Ten-ACC Double Duels — on Saturday.