May 13, 2006
OAK RIDGE, Tenn. - The Tennessee rowing team advanced two shells into grand finals on Saturday, the first day of the NCAA Central/South Region Sprints, sponsored by Aramark. The First Eight and Open Four crews will look to propel the Lady Vols to their first South Region title on Sunday morning at Melton Hill Lake.
The story of the day proved to be the First Eight group, revamped coming into the event after taking only one victory during the spring season. The new mix of coxswain Molly Oellerich (Arlington, Va.), Renee Brittle (Dublin, Va.), Lauren Wells (London, Ontario), Krista Gearing (Fenwick, Ontario), Erin-Monique Shelton (Upper Huff, New Zealand), Rachel Mayberry (Woodbridge, Va.), Kristen Galloway (Knoxville, Tenn./Farragut), Nina Dobratz (Portland, Ore.), and Jessica Ayers (Alpharetta, Ga.) made waves in the morning session, topping No. 6 Michigan by .4 seconds to advance into the A/B semifinals. The crew came through again in the afternoon, finishing third behind No. 20 Wisconsin and No. 9 Minnesota to claim the last spot in the grand finals on Sunday. The Lady Vols downed 15th-ranked Virginia by five seconds to advance to Sunday's big race, which features four of the top 10 boats in the country.
"I am really happy for the Varsity 8+," said head coach Lisa Glenn. "Today they put together everything we have been working on the last few weeks and executed the race plans well. We're looking forward to very competitive racing tomorrow against those top ranked teams."
UT's Open Four crew of coxswain Pam Harder (Mayette, N.J.), Kendra Warren (Franklin, Tenn.), Marisa Mohan (San Diego, Calif.), Giulia Guerrero (Clarksville, Tenn.) and Katie Payne (Parksville, British Columbia) move into the "A" finals with a second-place showing in the second semifinal race. The shell opened the day with a win in its heat, topping Wisconsin by 3.1 seconds. They finished the day ranking second in the semifinal, 2.2 seconds behind the Virginia "B" boat.
"They did a nice job setting the tone for the team, both during the morning and the afternoon sessions," Glenn commented. "I'm happy for what they achieved."
Two other Orange and White shells advanced into the petite finals. The Second Eights crew of coxswain Stephanie Davis (Martin, Tenn.), Genevieve Collins (Dallas, Texas), Mary Jones (Huntsville, Ala.), Beth Schwartz (Columbia, Tenn.), Alex Shishkov (Mississauga, Ontario), Heather Hill (Knoxville, Tenn./Catholic), Leah Smelser (Macon, Ga.), Sara Becker (San Diego, Calif.) and Kate Brownlee (North Gower, Ontario) started the day strong, finishing second in their heat behind Michigan State. The group then fell just shy of the grand finals, finishing 2.32 seconds in back of Notre Dame in the semifinals. The 2V8+ will line up against Duke, Texas, Minnesota, Louisville and UCF in the "B" final.
The Varsity Four skiff also fell just shy of the "A" finals, crossing the line 2.6 seconds behind Michigan for the coveted spot. Coxswain Kelly Todd (Oak Ridge, Tenn.), Steppie Williams (Collierville, Tenn.), Caroline Howell (Davenport, Iowa), Katrina von Peters (Chattanooga, Tenn.) and Sarah Hutcheson (Orlando, Fla.) will see Louisville, UCF, Texas, Notre Dame and Kansas State in the petite finals on Sunday.
The Lady Vols' Novice 8+ shell had two disappointing rounds, finishing seventh in the morning heats and sixth in the repechage to put the crew in the "C" final of the event.
"We had different expectations for the other boats going into today," noted Glenn, "but they still have the opportunity to take care of the things we need to take care of tomorrow."
The Aramark Central/South Region Sprints conclude on Sunday. Races are set to start at 9 a.m. on the Melton Hill Lake course, with the petite and grand final events starting at 10 a.m. UT will be in the Novice 8+ "C" final at 9:30 a.m., the Open 4+ grand final at 10:20 a.m., the Varsity 4+ petite final at 10:50 a.m., the Second Varsity 4+ petite final at 11:10 a.m. and the First Varsity 8+ grand final at 11:40 a.m.
|Aramark Central/South Region Sprints|
Melton Hill Lake - Oak Ridge, Tenn.
Saturday Semifinal Results for UT
|First Varsity Eight Semifinal A/B 2|
|Second Varsity Eight Semifinal A/B 1|
|3. Notre Dame||6:53.99|
|First Varsity Four Semifinal A/B 2|
|6. Kansas State||8:22.04|
|Open Four Semifinal A/B 2|
|1. Virginia "B"||8:06.60|
|3. Notre Dame "B"||8:11.17|
|Novice 8+ Repechage 2|
|3. Kansas State||7:47.31|
|5. North Carolina||7:55.13|