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Spartans, Vols fall to women’s crew team

Christine Armstrong | Friday, March 19, 2004

Over spring break, the women’s rowing team kicked off its 2004 season with races against No. 8 Michigan State, No. 13 Tennessee and No. 18 Duke in Tennessee. The team fared well against tough competition, which will continue as the Irish face a Top 20 team in every race this season.On Saturday, the Irish won six races against the Spartans and Lady Vols on Lake Lanier in Knoxville, Tenn. Notre Dame triumphed in all three second varsity four races and won in each of the three first novice eight heats.The Irish second varsity four crew of Caitlin Rackish, cox, Katie O’Hara, stroke, Danielle Stealy, Kristin Henkel and Tricia David won their first heat in 5 minutes, 17.62 seconds, over nine seconds ahead of Tennessee. In the second race, the crew beat the Spartans with a 5:21.38 finish. Finally, in the third race, Notre Dame’s boat finished in 5:21.38, topping Michigan State’s 5:29.29.The Irish first varsity eight of Maureen Gibbons, cox, Natalie Ladine, stroke, Alice Bartek, Meghan Boyle, Rachel Polinski, Melissa Felker, Katie Chenoweth, Danielle Protasewich and Jacqueline Hazen gave the nationally-ranked Lady Vols a scare. Tennessee squeaked out a victory finishing in 4:36.53, two seconds ahead of the Irish. Overall, Irish coach Martin Stone was pleased with the weekend’s performances. “I think the base pace of our race was our strength,” Stone said. “The start and finish part were our weakest point of the race, especially against Duke. Our number one performance goal is to reach the NCAAs as a team. In order for that to occur, each person must make individual improvements to add to the team’s speed.”Later, the Lady Vols once again snatched a victory away from the Irish, this time the difference came down to Tennessee’s time of 4:19.59 and Notre Dame’s 4:20.67. The first varsity four crew of Kathryn Long, cox, Pamela Jefson, stroke, Meredith Thornburgh, Alyssa Close and Kristen Mizzi secured a second-place finish in all three of their races while the Spartans collected three victories. “After spending all winter indoors, it was exciting to see how quickly we cametogether to face these teams,” Irish captain Natalie Ladine said. “We have two weeks until we face Michigan. In that time, the coaches are working on lineups, and the rowers are working hard to improve each day.” On Sunday, Notre Dame’s second varsity four soared to win the their race by more than nine seconds over the Irish’s first varsity four boat with finishing times of 7:46.12 and 7:55.14, respectively. Duke followed in 8:04.87, and the third Irish varsity four boat of Shannan Lettieri, cox, Sarah Keefer, stroke, Julie Lewis, Ann Mulligan and Jana Miller took fourth with an 8:23.88 finish. The Irish first varsity eight crew secured a close second second-place finish in 6:49.25, falling four seconds short of Duke’s time.The novice teams also boasted strong performances over the weekend. Saturday, the Irish won all three heats in their regatta against Michigan State and Tennessee, and the first novice eight was also victorious over the Blue Devils Sunday. Notre Dame’s boat of Eileen Froehlke, cox, Sarah Kate Hafner, stroke, Ariel Klingaman, Danielle Potts, Beth Hatch, Shannon Cassel, Sarah Shaw, Meghan Chidsey and Colleen McCotter finished in 7:14.19, while Duke’s crew finished almost a full minute behind in 8:12.06.Bridget Osetinski, cox, Audrey deGuire, stroke, Alicia Cooper, Samantha Glass and Kaitlin Sharkey of Notre Dame’s novice four crew had a triumphant finished in 8:32.22, eight seconds ahead of the Blue Devils.