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Rowers head to San Diego

BY RYAN MURPHY | APRIL 01, 2011 7:20 AM

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Two weeks after competing at the Longhorn Invitational to open the spring season, the Hawkeye rowing team will head out to the San Diego Crew Classic, dubbed America’s Premier Spring Regatta. The competition will take place on Saturday and April 3 in San Diego’s Mission Bay.

The meet is one of the largest regattas in the country.

Hawkeye head coach Mandi Kowal said she expects the team to improve from its performance in Austin, Texas.

“We are definitely looking to race better than we did in Texas, and we got a chance to clean up our race plans,” Kowal said.

Assistant coach Carrie Callen agreed and said it was a good start for the team, but there was plenty of room for improvement.

The Hawkeyes were supposed to compete in a home meet on March 26 against Minnesota on Lake Macbride, but the event was canceled because of harsh weather. Instead, the team an extra week to make adjustments for the regatta in San Diego.

The competition the Hawkeyes will face in Mission Bay include some of the top teams in the nation. Iowa’s varsity 8 boat will compete in the Jessop-Whittier Cup, facing some of the nation’s top teams in its heat, including No. 3 California, No. 7 Washington, No. 9 Southern California, and No. 12 Washington State. The heat also includes San Diego, which was swept by the Hawkeyes in Texas.

Iowa’s varsity 4 boat will compete in the Karen Plumleigh Cortney Cup and face only one ranked team in USC. The heat also includes Oregon State, Alabama, Tulsa, and Bates. For both boats, the Hawkeyes will need to place in the top three to advance to the finals.

In total, five of the nation’s top-10 teams will be at the regatta.

Kowal said the Hawkeyes’ schedule allows them to face many of the nation’s best teams.

“Every race we have is against good competition, and we get to see some of the top teams in San Diego,” said Kowal, who is in her 17th year as Hawkeye head coach.

The Hawkeyes are the first team listed in the also-receiving-votes category in the national rankings, which ranks the top 20 squads.

Senior Jessica Novack, who was named a second team All-American in 2010, said facing such highly ranked teams will help the Hawkeyes improve.

“Facing really good teams, teams that are ranked third and ninth, it’s going to make us better,” she said.

With many of the best teams in the country, as well as several top Big Ten teams in attendance, Kowal said it will be a fun event. She expects the competition in San Diego to be intense.

Novack said the Hawkeyes’ goal is to send a message to the rest of the nation that Iowa is a team to be reckoned with.

“We are going out there to make a statement,” the senior said. “We want to show everybody that we are not going to back down from anybody.”


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