Hawkeye rowing team wins three races in New York

BY RYAN MURPHY | MAY 02, 2011 7:20 AM

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Senior Haylie Miller said the Iowa rowing team was heading to the East Coast Races in Ithaca, N.Y. to make teams say, "Whoa, there's Iowa."

By winning two races in the morning session and another in the afternoon session of April 30's competition, the Hawkeyes were able to make a statement in their last racing series before the Big Ten championships on May 15.

Iowa head coach Mandi Kowal said she was pleased with the squad's performance.

"I think we performed pretty well," she said. "We didn't win every race, but we held our composure really well."

In the morning session of the event, the team competed against Duke and Bucknell, which entered the races ranked sixth in the Mid-Atlantic Region. The winning boat in each race advanced to "winners' races" in the afternoon, and second-place boats advanced to consolation races.

The Hawkeyes took two of the three races against the Blue Devils and Bison. The lone boat to finish second was the Hawkeyes' first varsity 8 team, which finished 4.5 seconds behind the victorious Blue Devils. The boat then placed second again in the afternoon's consolation races, 7.6 seconds behind Dartmouth.

The second varsity 8 boat won its morning race, defeating Bucknell by 3.9 seconds. The boat rallied to place second in the winners' race behind No. 17 Cornell. The squad trailed Rhode Island by a boat length early in the race before pulling ahead.

The dominant boat of the day for the Hawkeyes was the varsity 4. In the morning, the boat finished the course in a time of 8:15.4, besting second place Duke by more than 12 seconds. The afternoon session was no different for the Hawkeyes — the varsity 4 claimed the victory with a time of 8:17.9.

Second place Cornell finished 12.1 seconds behind Iowa, and third-place Buffalo finished 26.1 seconds after the Hawkeye boat, which is currently ranked sixth in the Central Region — the only Iowa boat to appear in the regional rankings.

Kowal said she was extremely impressed with the performance of the varsity 4 boat.

"It had a very good weekend," Kowal said. "It pushed through a pretty strong headwind, and had a strong weekend."

Senior Emily Melvold said the team's success was key to move up in the national poll in an attempt to qualify for the NCAA championships.

"This and the Big Ten championships are the only two chances for us to move up in the rankings before the end of the season," she said. "It was really important for us to do well."

With the regular season in the rear-view mirror, Iowa will begin preparation for the Big Ten championships in Indianapolis. Kowal said the team's performance at the East Coast Races gives it some momentum entering the conference championships.

"We have some things to work on, but we left New York in pretty good spirits," she said. "We got some momentum heading into the Big Tens."

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