By DARREN MILLER
IOWA CITY, Iowa — It has been 1,099 days since senior Logan Jones and her University of Iowa rowing teammates have competed in front of a home crowd. The three-year road trip ends Saturday when the 13th-ranked Hawkeyes host No. 11 Wisconsin and Minnesota on Lake MacBride in Solon, Iowa.
“We can always tell everyone about the work we put in, but being able to showcase that for the Hawkeye fans is special,” said Jones, who was coxswain in the Novice 8 boat during Iowa’s last home event on April 9, 2016.
Saturday’s morning session begins at 8:30 a.m. (CT) and the final race begins at 3:45.
For Iowa junior Eve Stewart, this will be the first time she will compete at home in front of friends…and family. Her mother, Rachel, has already arrived from Amsterdam to spend a week with her daughter and cheer the Hawkeyes.
Stewart says rowing isn’t always glamourous or popular, but it is rewarding. That’s why competing at home is special.
“It is difficult in the long winter months to train with no real races in sight, but it is all worth it in the end,” Stewart said. “It is nice having that happen now.”
Iowa’s home event will attract parents from as near as Iowa and Wisconsin and as far as Canada, England, and Italy.
“The only way for parents and supporters to see us the last couple years is to hit the road and follow us around the country,” Iowa head coach Andrew Carter said. “We have a greater volume coming out when we have a home competition. Those people get to connect with one another at a greater level and it is a time when our students can validate their hard work in front of their strongest supporters.”
Hannah Greenlee, a junior from Ames, Iowa, joins Jones and Stewart as a member of Iowa’s I Varsity Eight boat. The Hawkeyes were most recently in action March 30-31 at the Pac-12 Invitational in Redwood Shores, California. Competing close to campus is nice, Greenlee said, but she is equally excited to get back on the water — any water — and compete.
“I’m excited to race again,” she said. “We all love to race and every opportunity is exciting.”
Carter calls the Big Ten double dual “a great measuring post in front of home fans.” When you include Iowa’s travel partner, No. 20 Indiana, there will be three nationally ranked boats on Lake MacBride on Saturday. Minnesota is 22nd according to the most recent CRCA/US Rowing Coaches poll.
“It would be a great measuring stick if we can put a dent in those (teams),” Carter said. “If we get on top of them, then that is a big win for us.”