It couldn’t get much worse for a Michigan sports team than spending the weekend in Columbus watching Michigan State win a Big Ten Championship. Unfortunately, the women’s rowing team couldn’t do anything about the unfriendly fans in crimson and silver. Luckily, Michigan was able to prevent a Spartan win as the team took the Big Ten Title from Michigan State in the final race of this weekends’ meet.

“We knew going in that it was going to be very close,” coach Mark Rothstein said after this weekend’s Big Ten meet.

Going into the final race, No. 7 Michigan needed a win from the first varsity eight and a 3rd place showing or worse from Michigan State to win the meet. Michigan did its part as the first varsity eight won its sixth straight race with a time of 6:27.8 – the fastest time of the meet. Michigan State also chipped in by finishing the race in third, allowing the Wolverines to win the meet on a tiebreaker. The victory gave Michigan its third conference title in four years.

Adding to the win’s sweetness was the fact that rivals Michigan State and Ohio State finished 2nd and 3rd, respectively. Also, last season the Buckeyes prevented Michigan from taking a third-straight conference title.

Michigan had every reason to feel like a favorite going into the meet. The first varsity eight had won five consecutive races, including victories over No. 11 Ohio State in the Big Ten Invitational and No. 10 Virginia in the ACC/Big Ten Double Dual.

Michigan also had two No. 1 seeds going into the Big Ten meet (first varsity four and first varsity eight) and the highest overall ranking of any Big Ten school at No. 7.

In addition to the first varsity eight’s Grand Final victory, the first varsity four narrowly stayed ahead of Iowa to win their Grand Final, beating out the Hawkeyes by 1.8 seconds.

With the NCAA qualifying meet coming up in two weeks, Rothstein hopes to use the momentum from this weekend to end the season on a high note.

“We have a lot of speed that we can gain,” Rothstein said. “We need to enjoy this weekend, come back on Monday and get better.”

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