East Lansing, Mich. -- - Michigan State held its first home event in 2017, welcoming Wisconsin and Minnesota for a Big Ten Double Dual on Saturday. The Spartans got strong performances from their varsity eight and novice eight once again, and finished the day with a split of the two dual races. The Spartans fell to No. 11 Wisconsin 46-22, but rebounded with an afternoon victory over Minnesota, 34-26.
The racing was held on Lake Ovid in Lansingburg, Mich. at Sleepy Hollow State Park. The Spartans, No. 16 in this week's CRCA national poll, fielded just five boats due to injuries forcing head coach Matt Weise to scratch his second four late Thursday.
In the opening session vs. Wisconsin, the Spartan novice eight posted a win over the Badgers, clocked in 6:46.35, about a half a length of open water ahead of UW (6:52.35). The final event of the morning was the varsity eight race, and the Spartans were right with UW, but finished in second place by 0.88 seconds - MSU recorded a 6:29.29, and Wisconsin was about a seat ahead in 6:28.41.
Wisconsin's second varsity eight was close to its varsity eight time - its 6:29.44 was ahead of the Spartans (6:53.34) at the finish. In the four, the Spartans were clocked in a time of of 7:38.8, while Wisconsin took the victory in a time of 7:18.82. The second novice eight was a three-boat race between the Spartans, Badgers and Michigan - the Spartans were in third in a time of 7:23.34 - just six-tenths back of second-place Michigan (7:22.74). Wisconsin won that race in a time of 7:04.12.
In the afternoon, the tone-setters for the Spartans were once again the varsity and novice eights, but the Spartans experienced more success across the board vs. the Golden Gophers. MSU took the marquee event in a time of 6:34.04, more than 13 seconds ahead of Minnesota (6:47.63). MSU's novice entry was more than 28 seconds out in front of the boat from Minnesota, as MSU recorded a 6:50.24, while Minnesota turned in a 7:18.44.
The Spartan four earned a win on the day with a time of 7:29.82, which outpaced the Gopher boat by 7.17 seconds (7:36.99).
In the second varsity eight, the Gophers were about a seat of open water ahead of MSU, which was clocked in 6:49.08 (Minnesota turned in a 6:43.51). In a three-boat race once again in the second novice eight, MSU was third in a time of 7:26.75, just under six seconds behind the Wolverines (7:21.32) and almost 15 behind Wisconsin (7.11.85).
"I thought we had some good results today, but we continue to be really impressed by the novice eight, which came up with two wins today. That was a big win over Wisconsin for them, and they are undefeated in the Big Ten, so there's a lot of enthusiasm and excitement for what they have accomplished," noted Weise. "I really thought that the varsity eight was going to catch Wisconsin, and unfortunately, it just didn't come to fruition. That's still a strong result against a boat that's ranked five spots ahead of them nationally, so I'm hoping that we continue to build off of this as we move through the rest of the schedule.
"I also thought that the win for the varsity four was good for them - they lost to Minnesota a month ago, so to come back and get a decisive win was, I hope, good for their confidence as we continue to work towards Big Tens," concluded Weise.
The Spartans head east next weekend for two sets of races on the Charles River in Cambridge, Mass. On Saturday, the Spartans are hosted by Boston University and Northeastern and will also race UMass, and will tangle with Radcliffe and Boston College on the same course on Sunday morning.
Big Ten Double Dual: Michigan State vs. Wisconsin, Minnesota
Morning Session: Wisconsin 46, Michigan State 22
Afternoon Session: Michigan State 34, Minnesota 26
Morning: 1. Wisconsin 6:28.41; 2. Michigan State 6:29.67
Afternoon: 1. Michigan State 6:34.04; 2. Minnesota 6:47.63
Second Varsity Eight:
Morning: 1. Wisconsin 6:29.44; 2. Michigan State 6:53.34
Afternoon: 1. Minnesota 6:43.51; 2. Michigan State 6:49.08
Morning: 1. Wisconsin 7:18.82; 2. Michigan State 7:38.8
Afternoon: 1. Michigan State 7:29.82; 2. Minnesota 7:36.99
Morning: 1. Michigan State 6:46.35; 2. Wisconsin 6:52.35
Afternoon: 1. Michigan State 6:50.24; 2. Minnesota 7:18.44
Second Novice Eight
Morning: 1. Wisconsin 7:04.12; 2. Michigan 7:22.74; 3. Michigan State 7:23.34
Afternoon: 1. Wisconsin 7:11.85; 2. Michigan 7:21.32; 3. Michigan State 7:26.75