April 20, 2014
East Lansing, Mich. - - The Spartans wrapped up the Clemson Invitational on Sunday morning, battling 12 other teams that were ranked or receiving consideration in the national poll as well as challenging conditions that cut short racing on both days of competition.
After regatta officials had to push much of the second half of Saturday racing to Sunday, extremely windy conditions once again impacted racing on Sunday, cancelling everything after MSU's heat in the varsity four. Despite an abbreviated docket, head coach Matt Weise was pleased with his team's improvement.
"Today was a much better day of racing for us than Saturday was," said the coach. "The varsity eight figured out some things and really knocked off a lot of time. the varsity eight boats were aggressive and adaptable - they did a nice job with taking the plan and making it work.
"Im proud of the performance of our boats this morning - as we get to this point of the season, there are a lot of NCAA ramifications. Our results and times are critical as we get closer toward the selection of the NCAA field. Our athltes kept their heads about them, and attacked rather than panicked. I think what we're all feeling is that we're happy with the progress, but not satisfied in that we feel that we still have some speed to find. We will continue to be challenged, but I think that they are excited to meet those challenges we will see in the coming weeks. "
Nearly all crews benefitted on Sunday morning from calmer conditions than they experieced on Saturday, but by the time the afternoon session had begun on Sunday, the troubling winds were back and forced the early termination of the regatta for safety reasons. The only boats which got in three races this weekend were the NCAA boats - the two varsity eights and the varsity four.
In the first of its two races on Sunday, MSU's varsity eight shaved off nearly 21 seconds from its time on Saturday, finishing a half-length behind No. 12 Washington State (6:52.3) in a time of 6:54.2 and a full length ahead of No. 18 Syracuse (6:59.9). In the second race of the day, the Spartans lost out on a third place finish by a bowball behind the Cougars (two-tenths of a second at the finish), 7:11.4 - 7:11.6; However, both had open water behind No. 13 UCLA and Indiana.
MSU's second varsity, which saw the inclusion of two novice rowers this week, had a pair of third-place finishes and a fourth in its three races on the weekend. In Sunday morning's first race, the Spartans were a seat or two of open water behind Washington State and a length behind Syracuse; in the afternoon session, MSU was behind Indiana, UCLA, and Washington State.
MSU's varsity four, which had finished in contact with UCLA and Louisville in Saturday's race in its third-place finish (7:39.70), was third in the morning session behind the nationally-ranked entries from Syracuse and Washington State; in the afternoon session, the weather really began to cause havoc on the course, as the times were 30 seconds or more worse than the morning finishes for all crews, and racing was suspended after this race. MSU was fifth behind the Cougars, Clemson, UCLA, and Indiana.
MSU's second four took fifth on Saturday behind Louisville, Penn, and Cornell; on Sunday morning, they finished second by three seats (8:09.8) to Iowa, but had open-water over third-place Penn.
MSU's novice boats, which raced as the third varsity (novice eight) and fourth varsity (second novice eight) this weekend, had some solid performances racing all third-varsity and novice boats. On Friday, the 3V was clocked in a time of 7:51.5; nearly a full length ahead of second-place Penn (7:54.9), and was 18 seconds ahead of third-place Louisville; On Sunday morning, the Spartans (7:36.3) were six seats ahead of second-place Indiana (7:39.6), besting Syracuse, Oregon State, Washington State, Clemson, and Duke by open water.
The second novices were seventh to Texas, Oklahoma, Clemson, Oregon State, Duke (also a 4V), and Tennessee on Friday, then was fifth in a tim eof 8:16.6 in the lone Sunday race for the crew.
"Our mission has been to get better - and we're gaining speed and confidence," concluded Weise. "We had some personnel changes to the boats this week, and they are still working to really come together as a cohesive unit and building their speed. We helped ourselves this weekend, but we're still a work in progress. The best news is that I think we are still in control of our own destiny when it comes to qualifying for NCAA's. We will be able to really test how much we have improved in the coming weeks, with several top-10 teams on our schedule."
MSU heads back on the road next weekend to Charlottesville, Va. to race the No. 4 Cavaliers; Virginia is coming off a weekend of racing against Michigan and Ohio State.
2014 Clemson Invitational
Varsity Eight: UCLA 7:07.40; Cornell 7:10.80; Louisville 7:12.50; Michigan State 7:15.1; Duke 7:20.30; Penn 7:24.10; Miami 7:37.90
Second Varsity Eight: Louisville 7:27.60; UCLA 7:34.40; Michigan State 7:39.70; Cornell 7:42.70; Penn 7:47.50; Duke 7:53.00; Miami 8:12.10
Varsity Four: UCLA 8:35.10; Louisville 8:39.70; Michigan State 8:40.60; Cornell 8:45.80; Penn 8:58.80; Duke 9:04.00; Miami 9:38.40
Second Varsity Four: 1. Louisville 8:47.2; Penn 8:55.4; Cornell 9:04.3; Penn 3V4 8:36.7; Michigan State 9:20.0; Tennessee 9:36.2
Novice Eight/Third Varsity Eight: Michigan State 3V8 7:51.5; Penn 7:54.9; Louisville 8:09.1; Duke 3V8 8:20.3; Clemson 4V8 8:30.6; Cornell 8:36.5
Second Novice Eight/Fourth Varsity Eight (in 3V8 Race): Texas 3V8 8:09.9; Oklahoma 8:11.0; Clemson 3V8 8:17.4; Oregon State 8:19.2; Duke 4V8 8:35.0; Tennessee 8:42.0 Michigan State 4V8 9:02.3
Sunday Session I Results:
Varsity Eight: Washington State 6:52.3; Michigan State 6:54.2; Gonzaga 6:56.3; Oregon State 6:56.7; Syracuse 6:59.9; Penn 7:09.9; Miami (FL) 7:18.4
Second Varsity Eight: Washington State 7:03.4; Syracuse 7:04.0; Michigan State 7:08.6; Oregon State 7:10.7; Gonzaga 7:13.3; Penn 7:17.4; Miami (FL) 7:38.1
Varsity Four: Syracuse 7:50.6; Washington State 7:52.0; Michigan State 8:01.4; Oregon State 8:16.7; Penn 8:22.2; Miami (FL) 8:24.9; Gonzaga 8:26.9
Second Varsity Four: Iowa 8:05.4; Michigan State 8:09.8; Penn 8:17.8; Louisville 8:21.1; Oklahoma 8:21.4; Tennessee 8:34.0; Indiana 8:45.4
Novice Eight/Third Varsity Eight: Michigan State 3V8 7:36.3; Indiana 7:39.6; Syracuse 7:42.8; Oregon State 7:47.7 Washington State 7:56.1; Clemson 4V8 8:04.1; Duke 4V8 8:10.8
Second Novice Eight/Fourth Varsity Eight: (in 3V8 Race) Penn 7:44.7; Louisville 7:51.5; Oklahoma 7:58.5; Duke 3V8 7:58.6; Iowa 8:14.0; Michigan State 4V8 8:16.6; Cornell 8:23.4
Sunday Session II Results:
Varsity Eight: UCLA 7:04.3; Indiana 7:05.5; Washington State 7:11.4; Michigan State 7:11.6; Dartmouth 7:13.1; Cornell 7:16.0; Clemson 7:20.2 Second Varsity Eight: Indiana 7:22.4; UCLA 7:24.7; Washington State 7:27.4; Michigan State 7:37.7; Clemson 7:41.3
Varsity Four: Washington State 8:34.6; Clemson 8:39.2; UCLA 8:41.0; Indiana 8:42.1; Michigan State 8:45.8; Cornell 8:53.5; Dartmouth 8:58.8