May 15, 2014
Michigan State travels to Indianapolis, Indiana for the Big Ten Rowing Championships.
Eagle Creek Park in Indianapolis serves as the neutral-site host course for the Big Ten Championships for the fourth time in Championship history, after campus sites were used from 2000-10.
The 2,000-meter course on Eagle Creek Reservoir remains one of the country's premiere venues. The Eagle Creek course has held more than a dozen USRowing National Championships (including the 2004, 2005 and 2006 events), numerous Olympic, Pam Am and National Team trial regattas as well as NCAA National Championships and regional collegiate, junior and masters events. Eagle Creek was the site of the 1994 World Rowing championships and also hosts high-school and collegiate regattas in the spring and the Head of the Eagle each October.
The Spartans last won a Big Ten Championship in 2009, its second consecutive. The Spartans finished second in 2010 and fourth in each year from 2011-13. MSU has never finished lower than fourth.
2012 snapped a streak of four consecutive gold medals in the varsity eight race for MSU, an unprecedented run - only Michigan has ever won back-to-back championships in that race in Big Ten Conference history, which dates back to the sport's inception as a Big Ten sport in 2000.
Strength of the Field
Michigan State is 20th in the May 14 CRCA/US Rowing National Poll. Overall, six of the seven Big Ten teams are ranked or receiving votes, led by Ohio State, which is ranked second and is receiving first-place votes.
Michigan is ninth, followed by No. 13 Indiana, No. 16 Wisconsin, and No. 20 MSU. Iowa is receiving votes.
Strength of Schedule
Michigan State has lined up with some of the best crews in the country this season. Either in dual races or in the Clemson Invitational, MSU has seen 12 of the CRCA Top 19, and four of the crews which are receiving votes in the poll.
Big Ten Seedings
The Big Ten announced the seedings for the 2014 Championships earlier this week. For Michigan State, both of its varsity eights are seeded fifth, its fours are seeded fourth, and its two novice eight entries are both seeded third. Ohio State and Wisconsin each have three No. 1 seeds.
Big Ten Championship Format
Seven of the Big Ten's 12 current universities sponsor women's rowing at the varsity level: Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Ohio State, and Wisconsin. All seven participate in the annual Championship regatta.
The Big Ten Championships were traditionally held the first weekend in May, but in 2011 moved to a mid-May date at Eagle Creek Park. Since moving to a neutral-site host, each boat class has just one race, with seven boats across. Previously an all-day championship event with 24 different races (two heats, Petite Finals, Grand Finals in all six boat classes) is now a seven-race finals-only event which is contested within a two-hour window.
New for 2013 was the addition of a third varsity four race. MSU will not enter a boat in this race.
Big Life, Big Stage, Big Ten Network
The 2014 Big Ten Rowing Championships will be televised on the Big Ten Network for the seventh consecutive season. The Championship will air, tape delayed, 1 p.m. ET on Sunday, May 25.
Former Spartan and First Team Academic All-American Kate Burdick will serve as the color commentator for the Big Ten Network's coverage for a fourth consecutive season. Burdick was a Second Team All-Big Ten honoree in 2007 and CRCA Central Region first team selection as well. Kara Lentz handles play-by-play duties.
In addition to the successes on the water, the Spartans also celebrate considerable success in the classroom - 15 of MSU's 31 varsity rowers will be named to the 2014 Academic All-Big Ten team: Lori Comer, Asabe Danpollo, Elinor Hannum, Olivia Jamrog, Hayley Jenkins, Sarah Kovacs, Kimi Lakanen, Monica LaPointe, Laura Moore, Erin McGarry, Laura Moore, Ursula O'Connor, Rose Pawlowski, Sara Sherman,and Katie Trahan. To be eligible, rowers must be in at least their sophomore academic year and rowed in a varsity boat for 75% of the team's races.
Highest Academic Honors
Senior Monica LaPointe was the recipient of the President's Award at the Student Athlete Support Services (SASS) Academic Gala. The award recognizes the male and female graduating senior with the highest cumulative GPA and who has exhausted their eligibility in the 2013-14 school year. A two-time MSU distinguished scholar, LaPointe has achieved Dean's List honors every semester and maintains an impressive 3.942 GPA. A member of the Honors College, La Pointe traveled to Costa Rica in the summer of 2013 to volunteer for sea turtle research and conservation.
More Than a Decade of Excellence
MSU has qualified for the NCAA National Championship Regatta in 14 of the last 16 seasons. Since elevated to a varsity sport in 1998, the Spartans have qualified for the NCAA Championships every season but 2007 and 2013. MSU has received 11 team bids and received at-large berths for their varsity eight boat in 1998 and 2001. MSU finished 16th at the 2012 championships, and the program's best finish was sixth (2006,2008, 2009).
The Head Coach
Matt Weise is in 10th season as the head coach for the women's rowing program, after spending seven years as an assistant. Weise continually develops the nationally-recognized program, leading the team to its highest finish at the NCAA Championship and back-to-back Big Ten titles (2008, 2009). Over his eight previous seasons as the head coach of the Green and White, Weise has led the Spartans to seven NCAA appearances, three Big Ten championships and one Central Region title. Weise, a three-time Big Ten Coach of the Year, has also coached 11 All-Americans, five Big Ten Athletes of the Year, three Big Ten Freshmen of the Year and 12 Academic All-Americans.
MSU has had four Big Ten Athletes of the Year, and three straight winners from 2009-11. No school can claim more winners, and no other school has won more than two in a row ... Only two athletes in the history of the Big Ten Conference has claimed both Freshman of the Year and Athlete of the Year honors in rowing - 2008 MSU graduate Anne Cowan, and 2011 graduate Laura Cowal ... Cowal is also the only rowing athlete in the history of the Big Ten to win four gold medals in the varsity eight ... Michigan State's varsity eight won four consecutive Big Ten gold medals (2008, 2009, 2010, 2011). No other varsity eight in Big Ten history has won three straight championships, let alone four. The longest winning streak by one school in one event is the Wisconsin second novice eight boat, which won the first five Big Ten titles in that category ... Michigan State, Michigan and Ohio State are the only three schools to produce a varsity eight championship since the Big Ten began in 2000 ... Only four times in Big Ten history has one school swept all three major awards (Athlete, Freshman, and Coach of the Year). Michigan State accomplished the feat in both 2005 and 2008, while Michigan did it in 2012 and Ohio State did it, with an asterisk, in 2013 - MSU's Katie Cromie shared the Freshman of the Year honors with OSU's Catherine Shields ... MSU's roster features athletes from nine states, three Canadian provinces, plus Ireland and New Zealand.