May 1, 2010
LAINGSBURG, Mich. - The Michigan State rowing team fell just short in its bid to become the first school in Big Ten history to win three consecutive Big Ten team titles. The Wisconsin Badgers captured the team title, while Spartans finished second by a margin of only 16 points.
The day started with 12 preliminary heats to determine which schools would advance to the Grand Finals in the afternoon. Michigan State was one of three schools - Michigan and Wisconsin were the others - to put all six of their entries into the grand finals.
The afternoon session started promising for the Spartans as they medaled in each of the novice eight races - the Green and White were behind Ohio State and Wisconsin in the second novice event, and behind Wisconsin and Michigan in the novice eight race.
Next on the docket for the crews were the varsity and second varsity four races. In the varsity four, the race was fairly tight down the course, with Wisconsin holding just a two-seat lead over Michigan State at the 1000 meter mark, but that is where Michigan started to fall off, and Ohio State moved a little on the Wolverines. As the boats navigated the final 500 meters, both the Badgers and MSU moved further ahead of the two chasing shells. At the finish, it was Wisconsin (7:15.13), with the Spartans back by about a deck (7:17.02). The second varsity four also rowed to a second-place finish, about a length and a half back of gold medalist Minnesota.
Heading into the varsity and second varsity eight races it was anybody's Championship to win as Wisconsin held a slim seven point lead over MSU who held a six point lead over third place Michigan.
In the second varsity eight race, the crews from MSU, OSU, UM and Wisconsin were basically even at the 500 meter mark. At the 1000, Michigan and Wisconsin had opened up a slim lead over their competition. The Badgers and Wolverines battled down the stretch with Wisconsin narrowly edging out Michigan by just over two seconds. Ohio State finished in third and despite a late push, the Green and White finished fourth.
In the day's final race, Michigan State got out to a blistering start opening up an early lead of half a boat on OSU and open water on Wisconsin and Michigan at the 500 meter mark. At the halfway mark, MSU had open water on all three other boats and cruised to an open water victory in an impressive time of 6:17.41. The victory marked the third consecutive season that the Spartan Varsity Eight has won the gold in the race.
Despite the strong finish by the V8, Michigan State fell a bit shy in the team points column. Heading into the final race the Badgers only needed a third place finish to secure the title. The Badgers raced strong and finished in second behind the Spartans to clinch the title for Wisconsin.
For their efforts in the varsity eight finals, five Spartans were honored as All-Big Ten Selections. Emily Regan, Michelle Mussett and Victoria Woodard took home First Team honors while Laura Cowal and Kellie Lapointe were named to the second team.
The coverage of the 2010 Big Ten Championships will air on Big Ten Network on Saturday, May 16 at noon.
Michigan State will return to action when it heads to Oak Ridge, Tenn. for the South/Central Sprints in two weeks.