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Women’s Rowing: Irish return to Big East championships, seek eighth title

Sam Gans | Friday, April 29, 2011

The Irish head to the Big East championship this weekend, a tournament the squad has won the past seven consecutive years, in the hopes that history is on their side.

Yet to Irish coach Martin Stone the past is anything but a guarantee of success.

“It doesn’t really matter how many we’ve won [because] each year is different,” Stone said. “So you just try to win the one in that given year. I’m not a big believer that we defend anything that we’ve already won. We’re just trying to win this year — the 2011 Big East championship — and that’s pretty much all that matters right now.”

Despite the reign of dominance, the Irish are not the favorite heading into this year’s championship, according to Stone. Though that distinction belongs to Louisville, the Irish coach says he will not change his expectations.

“A successful weekend would be to win [the championship],” Stone said. “Whether it’s by one point or it’s by 15 points, to win, that would be successful in our eyes.”

Stone acknowledges that the task will not be an easy one, with a number of fierce competitors in addition to the Cardinals.

“I think Georgetown is pretty good — they’re covering every event,” he said. “I think Syracuse is showing some speed, Rutgers is doing well — I think everybody’s doing well. Everybody has a chance to go faster and do well.”

Notre Dame enters the event coming off a strong performance at the Lake Natoma Invitational in Sacramento, Calif. Apr. 16 and 17, at which the Irish placed second in Group B. The success at Lake Natoma catapulted Notre Dame into the CRCA/USRowing Coaches Poll for the first time all season, coming in at No. 20. In addition, the varsity four boat, consisting of freshmen Christina Dines, Courtney Gaberino, Teresa Rubinger and Kiersten DeHaven and junior Ching-Ting Hwang, earned Big East Crew of the Week honors.

In the wake of a memorable week, the Irish are now focused solely on the upcoming Big East championship and winning another conference title at all costs.

“We’re just going to try to score as many points as we can in each event and see how it plays out,” Stone said. “We want to win every event that we can, but [we’ll take] as many points as we can get in each event.”

The Big East championship will take place Sunday in West Windsor, N.J.