April 19, 2003
OAK RIDGE, Tenn.
The University of Tennessee women's rowing team claimed victory in the grand finals of four events at the Southern Intercollegiate Rowing Association Championship Regatta on Saturday. The Lady Vols took home titles in the Varsity 8+, 2nd Varsity 8+, Varsity 4+ and Novice 4+ events, while placing second in the Novice 8+.
Continuing a strong season, the UT crew of junior Lizzie Brown (cox.), sophomore Kaitlin Bargreen, junior Nicole Bold, freshman Lauren Wells, sophomore Chelsea Pemberton, sophomore Dana Forbes, senior Kacey Montgomery, sophomore Melissa Dicerbo and junior Jessica Shreder took home the Varsity 8+ title at SIRAs for the second-consecutive year. The 20th-ranked Lady Vols clocked a time of 6:29.8 in the grand finals to defeat West Virginia (6:35.7), Louisville (6:36.1), Purdue (6:45.1), Cincinnati (6:46.3) and SMU (6:48.7).
Tennessee's 2nd Varsity 8+ shell dominated its competition in the grand finals as well, finishing more than 17 seconds ahead of the runner-up boat. The Lady Vol combination of junior Erin Artz (cox.), junior Amy McIntosh, sophomore McKenzie Craig, sophomore Andrea Bagwell, senior Kelly Kravitz, senior Kelly Kraiss, freshman Lindsay Jones, sophomore Marissa Allen and senior Kay Logan posted a time of 6:45.2 to outpace Cincinnati (7:02.5), West Virginia (7:07.4), Purdue (7:11.7), SMU (7:12.9) and Tulsa (7:37.5).
The Lady Vols' Varsity 4+ crew, comprised of Jovanna Vick (cox.), sophomore Hilary Gilmore, junior Mary Beth Lewis, junior Mary Gruzalski and senior Sally BeVille also claimed victory in convincing fashion. The squad recorded a time of 7:28.0 to down Barry (7:37.2), Georgia (7:39.7), Jacksonville (7:41.7), Rollins (7:50.9) and Cincinnati (7:58.9).
In one of the most tightly contested races of the day, UT's Novice 4+ came from behind in the final 500 meters of the grand final to nip UT-Chattanooga at the finish line en route to victory. The Lady Vol all-freshman team of Jessica Dainty (cox.), Caitlyn Cleary, Katie Peterson, Jaclyn Adams and Andrea Searby clocked in at 7:46.6, just ahead of the Lady Mocs at 7:48.2. Third place went to Purdue at 8:09.1, followed by Tulsa (8:13.8), Alabama (8:18.1) and Cincinnati (8:24.0).
UT's Novice 8+ shell fought a close battle with Purdue throughout the 2000m course on Melton Hill Lake, but was just edged out in the end. The all-freshman Lady Vol crew of Maggie Wheeler (cox.), Holly Holmes, Beth Schwartz, Diane Samu, Ashley Anders, Hillary Graber, Amy McCormick, Lindsey Groves and Ariana Fitzgerald turned in a 6:54.8, compared to the Boilermakers' 6:50.8. Central Florida (7:06.9), Louisville (7:07.3), West Virginia (7:14.7) and George Mason (7:28.2) rounded out the grand final field.
The competition marked the Lady Vols' most successful showing ever at the SIRA Championships. In 2002, UT took home its first SIRA title in the Varsity 8+, but had never claimed either the 2nd Varsity 8+, Varsity 4+ or Novice 4+ crown before Saturday.
Tennessee will compete next in South Carolina at the Clemson Classic, April 27, on Lake Hartwell.