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ROWING: Top competition awaits ND

Joe Meixell | Friday, April 27, 2007

Notre Dame doesn’t get any easy races.

The No. 6 Irish face top-level competition Saturday against No. 5 Virginia, No. 7 Princeton and George Washington in Princeton, N.J.

“Three crews, all ranked in the top seven, I think it could be a great race,” Irish coach Martin Stone said.

The No. 6 Irish then travel to Worcester, Mass., Sunday to compete in the Big East Rowing championship. Notre Dame will face a wide array of skill, competing against No. 18 Louisville, Cincinnati, Georgetown, West Virginia, Villanova, Connecticut, Syracuse and Rutgers.

In their last outing, the Irish won seven out of 10 races – including three against top-10 teams. Notre Dame will need to show that same speed against Princeton, the last year’s champion.

“Whenever we go out of region, we race against the best,” Stone said, referring to the Windermere Regatta as well as upcoming races against Virginia and Princeton. Stone also said an impressive performance Saturday was crucial for boosting the team’s NCAA credentials.

Although George Washington finished sixth out of nine crews in the Atlantic 10 championship, it still presents a challenge for the Irish.

“All those crews have had good speed at different parts of the year. I think it’s going to be pretty difficult,” Stone said.

The Irish hope that this year’s Big East championship is a repeat of last year, when they finished in first or second place in all of their races.

The remainder of the season has South/Central Regional Championships slated May 12-13 and then the NCAA Championships May 25-27.