March 28, 2009
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - Though the rain fell steadily for most of the event, it didn't hinder the University of Tennessee women's rowing team which claimed three victories over Alabama on Saturday on Lake Loudoun. The Orange and White varsity eight, second eight and varsity four each took home its first win of the season on Senior Day at the Tennessee Boathouse.
"It was a good day," UT Head Coach Lisa Glenn said. "We avoided some bad weather which was great. Every boat has come along well from last week to this week. I noticed improvements in each shell and the critical thing is that we stay focused on the things we still need to do and continue to improve each week."
The day opened with the second varsity four race, which kicked off just as the rain began to fall. Tennessee's 2V4+ shell was manned only by novices ? freshmen coxswain Julia Cook and freshmen Danyelle Johnson, Maggie Sewell, Leslie Reynolds and Erika Lauderdale ? and finished 11 seconds off Alabama's pace. The Crimson Tide completed the course in 8:11.22.
The Orange and White bounced back in the second varsity eight, the second race of the day. As the rain continued, the Lady Vol crew of senior coxswain Jessica Williams, sophomores Melissa Toms and Rachel Dooley, juniors Marissa Bell, Lindsey Nelson and Jewell Ludwigsen, freshman Kristin Coggin, sophomore RuthAnne Waldrop and freshman Paula Coughlin got off to a quick start, gaining open water on the Crimson Tide by the halfway point. At the 750-meter mark, the UT shell had gained a boat length of open water on the Alabama shell and finished in 6:41.5, 18 seconds ahead of the Crimson Tide.
Tennessee's varsity four shell started off quick, opening up open water on Alabama at the halfway point. The Crimson Tide, however, had a good kick over the final 500 meters, getting back within two seats of the Lady Vol shell coming into the finish. The Orange and White crew of junior coxswain Katie Ross, freshmen Ashley Case and Lorren Shadko, and sophomores Shayna Sandlan and Samantha Sedgwick, held off Alabama, finishing in 7:47.9, seventh tenths of a second ahead of the Crimson Tide.
The main event saw the Lady Vols' 17th-ranked varsity eight shell hit the water and get off to a quick start, opening a seven-seat lead by the 500-meter mark. The Orange and White shell, which featured junior coxswain Sydney Newman, juniors Mary Beth Dreusike, Kate Snider and Laura Miller, freshman Libi Bruncvíkova', senior Kate Brownlee, sophomore Ruth Ann Johnson, freshman Hillary Epes and senior Caroline Howell, led the entire race, coming into the final 250 meters with a length and a half of open water on Alabama. Tennessee completed the course in 6:31.0, with the Crimson Tide following 12 seconds later.
The novice eight race capped the meet, as the Crimson Tide led throughout the course. Tennessee's shell of freshman coxswain Danielle Woods, junior Marissa Bell, freshman Ashley Case, junior Lindsey Nelson, freshman Kristin Coggin, sophomore Shayna Sandlan, freshmen Paula Coughlin and Danyelle Johnson and sophomore Samantha Sedgwick completed the course 22 seconds off Alabama's pace. Bell, Sandlan, Case, Nelson, Coggin and Johnson were each pulling double-duty in the race, competing in their second event of the meet.
The race marked the final dual-meet on the waters of Lake Loudoun for seniors Kate Brownlee, Caroline Howell, Erin-Monique Shelton and Jessica Williams. The group has helped bring Tennessee to new heights, participating in each of the Lady Vols' first three full-team appearances at the NCAA Championships, guiding the Orange and White to its best team finish in 2007 and its first NCAA grand final in 2008. Brownlee, Howell and Williams earned victories in their final races on Lake Loudoun, while Shelton was forced to sit out due to injury.
"This was the seniors' last meet here and they are a very special group," Glenn said. "I care a lot about them. I know this isn't the last time that they will be on our dock. When I gave them each a hug and shoved their shells off, I was just hoping that they come back and row from our dock again. They'll always be a part of the Lady Vol rowing family and I hope they will always consider this as their home waters."
The event also served as the first meeting between the Lady Vols and Crimson Tide in program history. Alabama is in its third year sponsoring rowing as a varsity sport and is the only other Southeastern Conference school with a rowing squad.
"I'm really glad that we had two Southeastern Conference teams meet in a dual rowing event," Glenn said. "This is the first one we've ever had. I just feel good about hosting it and having Alabama here. I remember six years ago talking to an Alabama administrator about adding rowing and how great it would be. So it was just a special day to have them here and have an official race."
Tennessee will look to continue its success on April 11, as it hits the road for the first time this spring. The Lady Vols travel to face No. 6 Virginia and No. 13 Clemson in Charlottesville, Va., after a two-week break from competitive action.
|Second Varsity 4+|
|(Cook [cox], D. Johnson, Sewell, Reynolds, Lauderdale)|
|Second Varsity 8+|
|(J. Williams [cox], Toms, Dooley, Bell, Nelson, Ludwigsen, Coggin, Waldrop, Coughlin)|
|(Ross [cox], Case, Shadko, Sandlan, Sedgwick)|
|(Newman [cox], Dreusike, Snider, Miller, Bruncvíkova', Brownlee, R. Johnson, Epes, Howell)|
|(Woods [cox], Bell, Case, Nelson, Coggin, Sandlan, Coughlin, D. Johnson, Sedgwick)|