BELLEVILLE — Despite the hasty time change of this weekend’s regatta, the No. 5 Michigan women’s rowing team earned five wins in the six races against No. 3 Ohio State at the Wolverines’ home opener on Belleville Lake. The regatta was moved from Saturday morning to Friday evening due to harsh weather predictions.

Michigan coach Mark Rothstein said that the key to the Wolverines’ wins on Friday was an internal focus — concentrating on having a good race, rather than beating their opponents.

“I think we are in good shape,” Rothstein said. “But we need to keep working hard, and then the races will take care of themselves.”

The focal point for the varsity eight on Friday was its start.

“Ohio State is a really good crew,” senior Leah Ketcheson said. “We knew we were going to have to have a strong start, and, once we had the lead, we weren’t going to give it up.”

The first varsity eight led the way over Ohio State. The Wolverines achieved their goal of a physically powerful launch to start the race and were able to maintain their quick pace.

“Once we got into the race and got a good start, we gained momentum throughout the race,” Ketcheson said.

Michigan held a lead of just over a boat length heading into the final 250 meters. The Wolverines ended with a time 6:11.0, three seconds faster than the Buckeyes.

Although Michigan did not compete directly against Ohio State — the Buckeyes clocked in faster times than the Wolverines in all the races they participated in last week at the ACC/Big Ten Double Dual in Columbus.

But when the two teams competed as rivals this weekend, Michigan won.

“I was pleased with our varsity eight,” Rothstein said. “I think they rowed very well today. I was also really pleased with how our varsity fours rowed. Both lost to Ohio State a week ago. Both won today. That was really good to see.”

Rothstein said that the Wolverines need to build off the momentum of this weekend’s races.

“What I like about this team is that they are aggressive,” Rothstein said. “And they like to race. As long as we can continue to improve our technique and fitness, I think we’ll do well.”

Ketcheson thanked her coxswain, senior Tara Medina, whose basic responsibilities are to steer the boat and give commands to the rowers so they know what to do and when to do it.

“(Medina) pretty much lets us know where we are in relation to the other crew,” Ketcheson said. “We knew, based off what she was saying, that we were going to do great.”

Michigan’s fast start this weekend gave the team confidence, but Rothstein noted that the season is far from over.

“We are showing good speed early, so, always, that’s good,” Rothstein said. “We always want to win. But it’s a long season, and we need to keep improving. Ohio State is going to be faster the next time we see them at Big Tens.”

The Wolverines will face the Buckeyes again on April 30 at the Big Ten Championships in Bloomington. But a more immediate challenge is next week’s regatta in Columbus, where Michigan will face Brown — the defending national champions — and Michigan State.


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