Spartans Head to Big Ten Championships
MSU looks for fourth championship
May 17, 2013
Michigan State travels to Indianapolis, Ind. for the Big Ten Rowing Championships.
WATCH: Big Ten Rowing Preview
Eagle Creek Park in Indianapolis serves as the neutral-site host course for the Big Ten Championships for the third 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 both 2011 and 2012. MSU has never finished lower than fourth.
Last year 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 receiving votes in the most recent 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 third and is receiving first-place votes.
Michigan is 13th, followed by No. 14 Wisconsin, and No. 20 Minnesota. Both MSU and Iowa received votes in this week's pre-championship poll.
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 is the addition of a third varsity four race. MSU will not enter a boat in this race, while Iowa and Indiana do not have entries in the second novice eight.
Big Ten Seedings
The Big Ten announced the seedings for the 2013 Championships earlier this week. For Michigan State, three of its six entries are seeded fifth, including both the varsity and second varsity eights and the novice eight. Both of the fours are seeded fourth, while the second novice eight is MSU's highest-seeded entry (third).
Ohio State leads the conference with five number one seeds, in both varsity eights and all three fours. Michigan owns the No. 1 seed in both novice eight races.
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 nine of the CRCA Top 20, and five of the nine crews which are receiving votes.
Big Life, Big Stage, Big Ten Network
The 2013 Big Ten Rowing Championships will be televised on the Big Ten Network for the sixth consecutive season. The Championship will air, tape delayed, on Sunday, May 26 at 4 p.m. ET.
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.
Seniors Lead the Way
Leading the way for the Spartans as they enter the Big Ten Championships are their 10 seniors: Nicole Bade (Frankenmuth, Mich.), Brie-Anne Breton (Welland, Ontario), Abigail Christiansen (Maple City, Mich.), Alicia DiMauro (Livonia, Mich.), Heather Holliday (Charlotte, Mich.), Monica LaPointe (Grosse Ile, Mich.), Erin McGarry (Grosse Pointe Park, Mich.), Shelby Motologin (Armada, Mich.), Samantha Palmer (Grand Blanc, MIch.), and Shelby Rockwell (St. Catharines, Ontario).
In addition to the successes on the water, the Spartans also celebrate considerable success in the classroom - 23 student-athletes will be named to the 2012 Academic All-Big Ten team: Joanna Beaton, Brie-Anne Breton, Julianne Calzonetti, Hannah Champ, Abigail Christiansen, Amelia Clary, Alicia DiMauro, Elinor Hannum, Heather Holliday, Olivia Jamrog, Hayley Jenkins, Alyssa Johnson, Kayla Koch, Kimi Lakanen, Monica LaPointe, Anna Ludes, Laura Moore, Shelby Motoligin, Samantha Palmer, Rose Pawlowski, Shelby Rockwell, Sara Sherman,and Katie Trahan.
More Than a Decade of Excellence
MSU has qualified for the NCAA National Championship Regatta in 14 of the last 15 seasons. Since elevated to a varsity sport in 1998, the Spartans have qualified for the NCAA Championships every season but 2007. MSU has received 11 team bids and received at-large berths for their varsity eight boat in 1998 and 2001. MSU finished 16th at last year's championships, and the program's best finish was sixth (2006,2008, 2009).
The Head Coach
Matt Weise is in ninth 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, two Big Ten Freshmen of the Year and 12 Academic All-Americans.
MSU's roster features athletes from nine states, three Canadian provinces, plus Ireland and New Zealand ... 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 three 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 last season.
MSU LINEUPS FOR BIG TEN CHAMPIONSHIPS
Second Varsity Eight: (C) Rose Pawlowski, (S) Shelby Motoligin, (7) Alicia DiMauro, (6) Hannah Champ, (5) Brie-Anne Breton, (4) Monica LaPointe, (3) Samantha Palmer, (2) Corrine DeVries, (B) Emily Sharp