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Spartans Finish Strong in Big Ten/ACC Challenge in Columbus

April 21, 2018

East Lansing, Mich. -- - Michigan State, ranked No. 15 in the Collegiate Rowing Coaches Association (CRCA) Poll, fell to No. 19 Duke in the morning session, but finished the day with some better results against Notre Dame as the teams competed in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge Saturday on Griggs Reservoir in Columbus.

In the first session of racing, the No. 19 Blue Devils won both varsity eight and both varsity four races. Both fours races were tight affairs - the first varsity four was about three seats behind Duke, clocked in a time of 7:30.39. The second fours race was even closer, as the Blue Devils were just under half a length (7.43.6 - 7:45.33) ahead of MSU at the finish.

In the varsity eight, Duke finished a little more than a deck of open water ahead of MSU, as the Blue Devils crossed the finish line in a time of 6:36.5, with MSU right behind in 6:41.19. San Diego was open water behind both boats, clocked in 6:54.51. MSU's margin in the second varsity eight was about five seats behind the Blue Devils, 6:50.5 - 6:53.07. San Diego finished in a time of 7:11.7.

The morning had started with a convincing Spartan victory in the novice eight boat, clocking in with several lengths of open water (6:58.9 - 7:14.87) in their margin of nearly 16 full seconds.

In both the second novice eight and third varsity fours, the Spartans lined up with No. 4 Ohio State as well as Notre Dame. Ohio State took both races in convincing fashion, with MS and Notre Dame each looking to improve their times from the morning to afternoon. In the morning, MSU was just about a length behind the Irish in a time of 7:48.92, five seconds behind the second-place Notre Dame (7:43.9). The margins for either team didn't vastly change, as the three boats lined up again in the afternoon session, with MSU recording a time of 7:38.49, and Notre Dame 7:32.99. Ohio State won in a time of 7:21.8, shaving five seconds off its morning time.

In the second novice eight, Ohio State picked up a pair of wins. The Buckeyes set the pace in the morning session with a time of 7:05.2, Notre Dame took second in 7:12.84, and MSU was third in 7:20.42. In the afternoon, MSU shaved four seconds off its morning time (7:16.78) and closed the margin on Notre Dame, which finished in 7:10.06, and Ohio State was first in 7:00.05.



"In the past two weeks, the novice squad made a lot of progress," noted novice coach Liz England. "The second novice eight had one of the most consistent weekends of the year. Kari Bushey set a reliable rhythm and has been doing a nice job in stroke seat. The first novice boat also produced some consistent racing and swept both races today. The racing against the Irish was close and it was nice to see that crew respond to the competition in a positive way. I'm looking forward to seeing what these athletes can learn and what type of racing we can produce in the next couple weeks."

After the mid-day break, MSU came back with some competitive races against Notre Dame.

The varsity eight race went to the Irish by a six-seat margin (6:23.6 - 6:26.47), with San Diego open water behind the other two crews. The second varsity eight held off Notre Dame in a close one, with the Spartans clocked in a time of 6:37.6, and the Irish a second back in 6:38.53.

"We were tight in the morning races against Duke," admitted head coach Matt Weise. "The eight really wanted to beat Duke and it ended up where the rowers were a bit more forcused on the outcome than they were on what was going on in the boat. In the afternoon we were better, but the varstiy eight lost that race in the third 500. The second eight raced really, really well against Notre Dame - they kept moving and rowed through them, and it was nice to see them rewarded."

Both the first and second varsity four races went to Notre Dame, and novice eight boat picked up a second convincing victory of the day, besting Notre Dame by nearly nine seconds, crossing the finish line in a time of 6:46.5, compared to 6.55.13 for the Irish.

"The end results were not what we wanted, but all three fours made progress today and improved from morning to afternoon," said Samantha Sarff, the coach of the fours. "The varsity four had two great stroke-for stroke-battles with Duke and Notre Dame that came down to the final few meters, as did the second four with Duke. We were edged, but know what we need to work on to come out on the other side of the margin next time."

Morning Session: No. 15 Spartans vs. No. 19 Duke, San Diego

Varsity Eight: 1. Duke 6:36.5; 2. Michigan State 6:42.19; 3. San Diego 6:54.51

Second Varsity Eight: 1. Duke 6:50.5; 2. Michigan State 6:53.07; 3. San Diego 7:11.7

Varsity Four : 1. Duke 7:27.7; 2. Michigan State 7:30.39

Second Varsity Four : 1. Duke 7:43.6; 2. Michigan State 7:45.33

Third Varsity Four : 1. Ohio State 7:26.0; 2. Notre Dame 7:43.9; 3. Michigan State 7:48.92

Novice Eight: 1. Michigan State 6:58.9; 2. Duke 7:14.87

Second Novice Eight: 1. Ohio State 7:05.2; 2. Notre Dame 7:12.84; 3. Michigan State 7:20.42

Afternoon Session: No. 15 Spartans vs. Notre Dame, San Diego

Varsity Eight: 1. Notre Dame 6:23.6; 2. Michigan State 6:26.47; 3. San Diego 6:42.64

Second Varsity Eight: 1. Michigan State 6:37.6; 2. Notre Dame 6:38.53; 3. San Diego 6:53.61

Varsity Four : 1. Notre Dame 7:18.6; 2 . Michigan State 7:21.29

Second Varsity Four : 1. Notre Dame 7:17.8; 2. Michigan State 7:41.11

Third Varsity Four : 1. Ohio State 7:21.8; 2. Notre Dame 7:32.99; 3. Michigan State 7:38.49

Novice Eight: 1. Michigan State 6:46.5; 2. Notre Dame 6:55.13

Second Novice Eight: 1. Ohio State 7:00.5; 2, Notre Dame 7:10.06; 3. Michigan State 7:16.78

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