Irish compete in Folsom, Calif.
Brian Plamondon | Friday, April 11, 2014
After nearly a month off, No. 9 Notre Dame will return to action in warmer weather in Folsom, Calif., for the Lake Natoma Invitational. The regatta, just outside of Sacramento, will be the first of three straight weekends the Irish will be in competition.
“I think we’ve seen some signs that people were getting antsy during the last eight to ten days,” Irish coach Martin Stone said. “Now I think we’ve planned it out so we know in advance that it is tough coming back from the West Coast and then immediately training again. We will see what we need to do and quickly make the adjustment for the next race.”
Notre Dame is coming off a strong showing in the Oak Ridge/Cardinal Invitational, where they swept West Virginia and split their six races with Louisville on the first day of competition.
The following day, the Irish took home three more victories. The team was pleased with their showing, but wanted to compete better against No. 3 Virginia, Stone said.
This weekend, the Irish will face a strong group of schools that will provide a great gauge for the competition they may see in the NCAA championships. Notre Dame will compete Saturday morning against No. 4 USC and Kansas, and in the afternoon against No. 1 California and Oklahoma. The Irish will close Sunday with No. 7 Stanford and No. 20 San Diego.
“This is a level of competition we will only see in the NCAAs,” Stone said. “We’ll have raced three of the top 10 teams in the country — pretty special.”
This regatta will be unique in that the Irish will not race against any Atlantic Coast Conference foes.
Despite the switch from the Big East, where Notre Dame won 11 straight conference titles, to the ACC, Stone says the goal has not changed.
“We want to win conference titles and NCAA titles,” Stone said. “I don’t think the ACC is that different, and we raced those teams anyway in the past.”
As the Irish prep for their big weekend out west, confidence seems to be running high, Stone said.
“The team is in a good place, they’ve worked really hard,” Stone said. “It’s going to be a pretty fun time.”
The Lake Natoma Invitational begins with racen Saturday in Folsom, Calif.