April 26, 2014
East Lansing, Mich. - - Michigan State raced against No. 5 Virginia and Duke on Saturday morning on Lake Monticello in Charlottesville, Va., and came away with some strong results. The Spartans continue to strive to peak for the championship season, while trying to post competitive times nationally for NCAA Championship consideration.
"We're continuing to improve for sure," said head coach Matt Weise. "Over the course of a season, that is your expectation - but the teams around you are generally improving and getting faster as well. While we lost to UVA, we were able to take five seconds off the margin. We're happy with the improvements, but far from satisfied, since I really do think we have some speed to find over the coming weeks. Testing ourselves against strong crews week-in and week-out this season has continued to make us better. We're a work in progress."
MSU lined up with the Cavaliers in the morning races, and desite falling in all three races, did manage to close the margins from when the teams met in the opening weekend of the season. In the varsity eight, MSU was about six seats of open water behind UVA (seven seconds), when the margin was more than 12 at Oak Ridge. The second varsity eight was clocked in a time of 6:52.8, with UV crossing the line in a time of 6:33.0; the varsity four was a little over 11 seconds back of both UVA fours at the finish, clocked in a time of 7:29.4.
In the second session, MSU was lined up with Duke; MSU downed the Blue Devils by eight seconds in the varsity eight race, the Spartans were clocked in a time of 6:52.4 in the second varsity, matching its time from the morning but crossing the line 15.4 seconds ahead of Duke. The varsity four also won for a split of their races on the day, crossing the line in a time of 7:28.2; Duke was clocked in a time of 7:41.6, open water behind the Spartans.
While head-to-head racing was the most important focus of the day, a side eye was also turned to the performance of No. 18 Syracuse, which raced Duke in the morning and the hosts in the afternoon. With 11 at-large spots available in the NCAA National Championship Regatta, teams are jostling for a bid should they not win the auto-qualifier by capturing their conference title. MSU's time in the V8 morning race was nearly nine seconds better than the Orange, but Syracuse was just 1.5 seconds behind MSU's time in the afternoon session. Both of Syracuse's second varsity times were better than MSU's on the day, while their varsity four times were nearly identical in the first session on Saturday morning.
MSU at Virginia, vs Duke
April 26, 2014
Varsity Eight Virginia 6:30.0; Michigan State 6:37.9
Second Varsity Eight Virginia 6:33.0, Michigan State 6:52.8
Varsity Four Virginia A 7:18.7; Virginia B 7:20.8, Michigan State 7:29.4
Varsity Eight Michigan State 6:38.2, Duke 6:46.4
Second Varsity Eight Michigan State 6:52.4, Duke 7:07.8
Varsity Four Michigan State 7:28.2, Duke 7:41.6