On Halloween, Hawkeye rowers finish close — but behind — Badgers


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What started out as a cold, crisp morning on which spectators grasped cups of hot chocolate on the banks of the Iowa River at City Park and the Beckwith Boathouse turned into a warm, inviting afternoon yielding competitive but somewhat disappointing results for the Iowa rowing team.

The boathouse was bustling with teams from across the Midwest, but Wisconsin proved to be the toughest competitor for the Hawkeyes, bringing a large number of fans along with it.

Wisconsin edged Iowa in all of its events, but going into the off-season, the Hawkeyes know what they need to work on.

“We want to take this as we didn’t do as well as we wanted, but we’re going to take that as motivation to get better and come into the spring being the underdog,” senior rower Jessica Novack said. “We have nothing to lose, and other people have a lot to lose.”

In the first women’s race of the morning, the varsity 8s, the first Iowa boat took second place to Wisconsin by only 19 seconds with a time of 13:38. The second and third Iowa boats came in fourth place (13:55), and 11th place, respectively. A total of 16 boats competed in the race.

In the women’s varsity 4s race, the second Iowa boat took third place — only seven seconds behind two Wisconsin boats — with a time of 15:16, followed in fourth place with another Wisconsin boat. Iowa boats also took fifth, 11th, and 13th places out of 24 boats in the same race.

Senior coxswain Emily Melvold said she was happy with how the boats she was a part of fared in the 8s and 4s races, but she knew there were a couple of crews who were disappointed with their results.

In the last Iowa varsity races of the afternoon, three Iowa pairs competed. The Hawkeyes placed second, sixth, and ninth out of 10 teams.

The coaches and rowers are motivated going into the upcoming off-season.

“Coming off a semi-disappointing day, it just gives us that much more to work towards,” sophomore rower Katy Kroll said.

Head coach Mandi Kowal said she was pleased that the Hawkeyes were able to adjust and make changes after a disappointing second-place finish in the 8s race. Early aggression and excitement led to a loss of speed in the first Iowa boat.

But aggression isn’t a bad thing, Kowal said. Iowa will work on controlling its aggression to build up speed.

Wisconsin is a strong crew to race against, but, Melvold said, “it’s fun not to shy away from the competition.”

“It’s fun to compare yourself with [Wisconsin] going into the spring season [to see] kind of where you’re at.”

Freshman Anne Marie Bernhard said the Hawkeyes will use the winter season to make sure they are 100 percent prepared for the spring season, where they will see the former Big Ten champions numerous times.

Sunday may not have been exactly how the Hawkeyes wanted to end the season, but now they know what they need to improve.

“The great thing is we’ll see Wisconsin again,” assistant coach Carrie Callen said.

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