After a long day of racing on Saturday, the women’s rowing team has placed six of its seven boats in Sunday’s finals of the Knecht Cup Regatta.
Leading the charge were the novice group as the Novice 4 and the second Novice 8 will compete in Sunday’s finals.
“They had a really great day,” coach Rebecca Grzybowsk said. “They get to race for the top six spots tomorrow so they are really excited and I think they are going to have a really good day tomorrow as well.”
“I am very lucky that I have got three awesome coaches, two of which are complete voluntaries and one is our graduate assistant so they do a lot of the leg work, getting the novices up to speed and clearly they are doing a great job,” Grzybowski added. “So it’s exciting to think that that’s the future of the program and that becomes the new normal that we go to a regatta and advance to grand finals or to semi-finals or to petite finals and we race for multiple days in a row.”
Among the 70 schools that competed on Mercer Lake on Saturday were teams from the American Athletic Conference. For the first time this season, the Owls faced conference rivals Southern Methodist, Tulsa, Connecticut and Central Florida.
“There have definitely some increase in speed [with teams in the conference],” Grzybowski said. “Having kept an eye on teams for the past couple of years, I think across the board, women’s rowing have continued to get more competitive.”
While the Novice 4 fell behind SMU and Tulsa by a little more than two seconds in the heats and semi-finals, respectively, the Owls will look to change momentum bright and early on Sunday in the grand finals as they go head-to-head against the teams.
The last race of the day featured the second Novice 8, which was dubbed the third Varsity 8 for competition purposes. The boat faced off against conference rival UCF. The Owls qualified for the finals with a time of 7:23 seconds.
While the four other boats will row in petite and third finals, the Owls will still get another opportunity to square off against some other teams.
The Varsity 4 and the Novice 8 boats will take part in the petite finals on Sunday. The Varsity 4 boat finished in second behind Boston College in the heats but could not crack the Top 2 in the
semis and finished fourth. The novice eight boat secured a fourth place finish in the semis, one notch higher than their fifth place finish in the heats.
Although it is set to compete in the third finals, the Varsity 8 boat and the second Varsity 8 boat will get an opportunity to compete again against UConn and SMU on Sunday before the conference championships in May.
The novices will look to medal on the final day of competitions at the Knecht Cup Regatta beginning at 8:50 a.m. on Sunday.
Danielle Nelson can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @Dan_Nels.