For most Michigan students, the recent cold front meant a poor Hash Bash showing and not including sandals in their April attire. But for many Michigan athletes, the weather has had more serious repercussions on their seasons, such as cancelled meets and limited practice time.
The women’s rowing team, experiencing postponed regattas and struggling with ice on Belleville Lake, still managed to win its only home meet yesterday against Michigan State and Eastern Michigan. The meet was scheduled for Saturday, but was not held until yesterday due to extremely windy conditions.
The Wolverines swept all varsity races, consisting of two eight-person boats and two boats of four. Rowing through the 1,950-meter course in freezing temperatures, the Wolverines managed to bear the cold and inch ahead of the Spartans and Eagles at the start of the regatta. The first varsity eight boat edged Michigan State by four seconds, posting a time of 6:32.37, while Michigan State finished with 6:36.17 as Eastern lagged behind at 6:50.42.
“Michigan State got a little ahead of us, but I thought that we stayed composed and came back pretty well,” said senior Erin Kopicki on her race on the first varsity eight. “We probably went a little slower due to the water temperature, but the conditions were a lot better than we expected to race in.”
Along with the water temperature, wind also effected course times, making it hard to compare performances. Regardless of the conditions, this was an important meet for the fifth-ranked Wolverines, finishing four places ahead of the Spartans.
While Michigan had just four days of practice before the regatta against Brown, they have been using their time on the water efficiently. Prior to this event, Michigan State had returned from racing in California against West Coast schools, whereas the Wolverines had just raced against Ivy-teams such as Brown and Princeton.
“We improved upon last weekend’s performance, and we are looking at stepping it up at each regatta throughout the year until Nationals – taking little steps to get there,” said sophomore Leah Ketcheson.
Now that the Wolverines have a solid victory over a top-ranked team, they have gained great confidence. Junior Heather Mandoli, who was selected to the second-team All Big-Ten last season, has an attitude that inspires her teammates. While she rows on the first varsity eight boat, her optimistic goals and leadership extend to all boats.
“I’m really excited for our whole team this year, we’ve been having some pretty positive results. I’m really pleased with our national ranking, and it’s still early in the season, so a lot can change,” Mandoli sid. “We need to keep training hard, having good practices and staying together as a team. We are having a great year so far, and I think we are on the right road.”
Michigan’s season continues as the Wolverines head to Columbus on Saturday April 12, racing in the Big Ten Double Dual against Virginia – ranked 11th nationally – and Duke.