In the last rowing competition of the 2014-2015 season, the women’s rowing team faced off against some of its conference rivals for the first time this season.
The American Athletic Conference Championship got underway on Sunday as eight teams from across the country gathered in West Windsor, New Jersey for the event.
“It was really awesome, really cool to see teams from different parts of the Conference that we haven’t raced before necessarily during our season,” sophomore Sierra Derti said.
The Owls ended their season with three conference championship medals as the third varsity 8 boat continued its season success at Lake Mercer.
Led by freshman coxswain Victoria Verrekia, the varsity 8 boat jumped out to an early lead and never looked back on its way to claim the gold medal with a time of seven minutes, four seconds.
While the novice 8 boat was able to pull off a convincing win on Lake Mercer, the varsity 4 boat found itself in fifth place with 1,000 meters left in the race.
The University of Central Florida and San Diego State University varsity 4 boats rowed out to a late advantage ahead of the Temple boat and the Owls needed to do something to catch them.
That is when the varsity 4 boat began its charge and passed South Florida and San Diego State on its way to claiming the bronze medal in the grand finals with a time of seven minutes, 41 seconds.
In the third varsity 4 final event, the University of Tulsa and Central Florida took the early lead through the first 500 meters of the race.
Temple then increased its stroke rate and rowed ahead of the competition to win a silver medal with a time of eight minutes, eight seconds — three seconds behind the gold medal winners, Tulsa.
Although the other three boats were not able to collect any hardware, the second varsity 8 and second varsity 4 boats rowed in the grand finals.
The second varsity 8, led by senior coxswain Erin Matz finished in fourth place with a time of seven minutes, one second.
“It was our coxswain’s last race so I wish we could have given her more – a win,” Derti said.
In the second varsity 8 boat, a majority of the rowers never rowed with each other before. But Derti said “it was great for what it was” after holding off the fifth place finishers, the University of Connecticut.
“We ended walking on UConn, which I know was really important to some of the girls who ended up racing them last [time],” Derti said.
The second varsity 4 was unable to find a rhythm in its race and crossed the line in fifth place.
The varsity 8 boat, who began the day with a seventh place finish at time trials, qualified for the petite finals and finished nearly 15 seconds ahead of its second place competitor, UConn, to win the race in a time of six minutes, 50 seconds.
As a team, the Owls finished fourth in The American’s final conference standings with a 107 points, 82 points behind Tulsa, who won the team championships.
Danielle Nelson can be reached at email@example.com