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Women’s crew shines under gloomy skies

Sports Staff Writer
Monday, April 25, 2011

The No. 6 women’s crew team dominated through rain and shine last weekend in its final home regattas of the year.

The Bears faced regional rivals University of Rhode Island and Boston University in beautiful weather conditions Friday and easily cruised to victory in every race of the day. The varsity eight — despite being forced to row first due to a broken oar on the third varsity boat — obliterated second-place URI by 19 seconds with a time of 6 minutes, 12.20 seconds. The second varsity eight turned in an impressive performance, finishing nine seconds ahead of URI at 6:18.40. The varsity four were neck-and-neck with BU for the majority of the race, but in the end, the Bears pulled out a narrow victory with a time of 7:08.30, just 1.1 seconds ahead of the Terriers.

Columbia and No. 10 Cornell traveled to Providence for Bruno’s final home competition of the year the following day and were met with dismal skies. The teams faced strong winds, heavy rain and an incoming tide throughout the day on the Seekonk River.

“In outdoor sports, this is something you have to prepare for and deal with,” said Head Coach John Murphy. “It was windy, there was a steady rain and it was cold, so it wasn’t comfortable, but it wasn’t something where they couldn’t do their best.”

Despite the conditions, Bruno had little difficulty clinching victories in all five of the day’s races. The varsity eight finished in 7:41.80, nearly 14 seconds ahead of second-place Columbia. The second varsity eight again posted an impressive time at 7:52.50, which ranked ahead of both Cornell’s and Columbia’s varsity eight times.

“The weather on Saturday was terrible,” said Casey Kelsey ’11. “But because we race and practice on the Seekonk every day, we think it’s an advantage racing on our home course in these terrible conditions because those other teams don’t have experience with it.”

As the school year winds down, the Bears’ schedule picks up. The team has one final tune-up race against eighth-ranked Yale Saturday in preparation for the Eastern Association of Women’s Rowing Colleges Sprints held May 15 in New Jersey. The sprints are the qualifier meet for the NCAA Championships in Sacramento, Calif.

Murphy said he is confident about the upcoming races but warned his players about getting ahead of themselves.

“For the NCAA, you have to get selected and then worry about winning,” Murphy said. “I think we’re in a good position, but we never take it for granted. This race against Yale will make a difference for us in rankings, and then the Eastern Sprints is basically where the committee making the selections will base it on. We have to take it one hurdle at a time, but we are in a good position at this point.”

Kelsey said she knows nothing is guaranteed, but the team has its sights set on a trip to the West Coast.

“It’s going to be a challenge to get there,” she said. “But I’ll say that we’d be very disappointed if we didn’t make it.”


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