I Varsity Eight Qualifies for Petite Final at NCAA Championships

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INDIANAPOLIS — The University of Iowa women’s rowing team’s I Varsity Eight qualified for the petite final, while the II Varsity Eight and Varsity Four qualified for the C Final on the second day of the NCAA Rowing Championships at Eagle Creek Park.

Saturday’s races began after a two-hour delay to clear debris off the course.

I Varsity Eight: The first race of the day was tight through 250 meters with no teams gaining a clear advantage. Iowa and Michigan charged ahead at 500 meters and held steady until Cal exploded ahead of both teams to push the Hawkeyes into third. Texas followed suit and grabbed second place, pushing Iowa back into fourth place. Iowa was holding onto fourth place, but had Virginia inching back into the race from fifth, however Iowa kept its composure and held off the Cavaliers as the race split into two, three-team packs with Iowa leading the second pack in fourth, eventually earning a spot in the petite finals tomorrow.

“When you get into that top-12, there are no slow crews,” head coach Andrew Carter said. “They continued the trend of having one of the best starts in the country. They got out in front of some top crews in Texas and Cal. It was the second 500 meters where we thought there could have been improvement, but it was a tight race. We improved some margins we had from Big Tens. It was a good race for them.”

II VARSITY EIGHT: Heat one of the II Varsity Eight C/D Semifinal saw tight racing early with Harvard taking an early lead over Iowa, but Iowa quickly fought back to gain the edge at 300 meters. Iowa took a full deck lead over Harvard at 500 meters as the top three crews of Iowa, Harvard, and Northeastern separated themselves. Iowa extended its lead to half a boat length at 1,000 meters, but Harvard began sneaking back into the race and pulled ahead, leaving Iowa in second place. Iowa crossed the finish line in second to secure a spot in the C final tomorrow.

“I was very pleased with this boat,” Carter said. “That is our future. There are a lot of first-year rowers in that boat. They got out well and got out in front for about 1,700 of the 2,000 meters to get just caught at the end by Harvard. They rowed with composure well beyond their experience. They were much better than yesterday and I expect they will be even better tomorrow.”

I VARSITY FOUR: Iowa gained an early lead approaching 250 meters and extended its lead to a full boat length over second-place Navy at 500 meters. Navy made a brief push, but Iowa held off their attack going into 750 meters. A stronger headwind in the second half of the race provided another challenge, but the Hawkeyes regrouped and gained a larger lead over Navy. The Hawkeyes easily won their heat by seven seconds to qualify for the C final tomorrow.

“With a new lineup after Big Tens, it was great to see improvement from the first round to the second,” assistant coach Jeff Garbutt said. “What we saw was a real evenly split race. We had a quicker second half of the race than the first, so that’s good to see. That means the girls’ fitness is where it needs to be. We are excited to be in the C final tomorrow.”

“We got off the line pretty well,” senior Allison Blevins said. It was clear we were in first from the start so that gave us some confidence. Our second 500 meters could have been faster, but we brought it back for the final 1,000 meters and had one of the best finishes we’ve ever had.”

I Varsity 8: Naomi Visser, Elena Waiglein, Paige Schlapkohl, Hannah Greenlee, Hunter Koenigsfeld, Contessa Harold, Katie Pearson, Eve Stewart, Logan Jones (cx)
II Varsity 8: Claire Rutherford, Kayla Jensen, Rachel Kram, Molly Rygh, Riley Seufert, Lauren Collier, Lucie Daman, Rachel Canon, Faith Wieland (cx)
I Varsity Four: Allison Blevins, Nathalia Wellenreiter, Amalie Millerd, Nina Lawrence, Katie Becker (cx)

The 2019 NCAA Rowing Championships conclude tomorrow with the finals. Iowa begins competition at 7:24 a.m. (CT) with the C Final of the Varsity Fours. Live stream the final day on NCAA.com.