Spartans Row Into Sunday's South/Central Sprints Grand Finals
May 17, 2008
OAK RIDGE, Tenn. - Michigan State rowing earned a pair of first-place semifinal finishes and five Spartan boats rowed their way into the South Central Regional Grand Finals on Melton Hill Lake in Oak Ridge, Tenn. MSU's top-seeded open four and varsity four boats picked up top finishes in the semifinal heats, while the varsity eight crew placed second. Both the second varsity eight and novice eight boats finished third. All five Spartan crews will compete on Sunday (May 18), with the varsity eight finals beginning at 9 a.m. Inclement weather could rearrange the day's schedule, and any changes or delays will be posted as soon as possible at www.msuspartans.com.
"We executed well, and now it's a matter of laying a little more out there for tomorrow's races, and taking it to another level," said head coach Matt Weise. "We need to take a step up, and we have that ability."
In the morning's preliminary heats, Michigan State's varsity, second varsity, varsity four and open four crews swept their heats finishing first,setting themselves up nicely with third-lane placement for the afternoon's semifinals. The novice eight cbat came in fifth.
MSU's open four crew faced off against Clemson, Notre Dame `A', Texas and Virginia `A' and `B' boats in its semifinal race. With a strong start, the Spartans pulled ahead of all the crews, including top-seeded Virginia `A', within the first 500, and maintained the lead through the finish line. They finished the race in 7:37.00, 4.46 seconds ahead of the UVA `A' crew.
The novice crew struggled in the morning and afternoon heats. After placing fifth in the preliminary races, the novice eights were placed against three highly-seeded boats for the semifinal heat. The Spartans stroked consistently through the first 1000 meters, but struggled to find balance against the wind in ther second 1000. Fifth-seeded Virginia claimed the win, while Notre Dame came in second. The Spartans finished in 7:23.51 - 0:13.71 back from the Cavaliers and 0:6.78 behind the Fighting Irish.
The varsity four heats followed, and the Spartans executed well throughout the entire race, as they held a lead from start to finish. Ohio State pulled up and put pressure on MSU at the 1000-meter mark, but the head winds caught the Buckeyes while the Spartans adjusted to the wind changes. Crossing the finish at 7:42.00, Michigan State posted a 2.27-second win ahead of Ohio State. Clemson, Notre Dame, Tennessee and Texas finished after MSU and OSU, in that order.
In the second varsity eight heat, Michigan State rowed through the tailwind for the first 500 meters, but battled when conditions changed to headwinds at the 1000-meter mark. Virginia and Tennessee finished first and second, while the Spartans recorded a 6:48.92 time.
The varsity eight opened its semifinal race up on Big Ten rival and No. 1-seeded Michigan at 500, and maintained an advantage through 1000 meters. But Michigan inched back through the second 1000 meters, and stroked ahead to claim the win by 0:00.55 seconds. The Wolverines finished in 6:36.10, while the Spartans crossed the line at 6:36.65.
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