March 17, 2006
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - After a successful fall season that saw the team win eight gold medals, the University of Tennessee will kick off its spring schedule on Fort Loudoun Lake against Minnesota and Notre Dame on Saturday morning. The varsity races begin at 10 on the home waters outside the Lady Volunteer Boathouse on Neyland Drive. Novice competitions are slated for a 7:40 start.
The Big Orange, led by head coach Lisa Glenn, enter the spring with a No. 12 ranking for its Varsity 8+ shell in the preseason USRowing/Collegiate Rowing Coaches Association poll. This weekend will pit two ranked teams against each other in that event, as Minnesota comes in with a No. 19 rating.
UT returns four of the nine athletes that led the crew to a program-best eight-place finish at the 2005 NCAA Championships. Junior Rachel Mayberry and seniors Beth Schwartz and Lauren Wells, along with junior coxswain Molly Oellerich, look to lead the crew back to the national championships for the fourth straight year. Overall, the Lady Vols bring back 21 letter-winners from last year's second-place team in the NCAA South Region.
This marks the fourth straight year the Golden Gophers have come to Rocky Top for a week of training and competition against the Lady Vols. In last year's meeting, Tennessee triumphed in the First and Second Eights, while Minnesota took home wins in two Varsity Four races and three Novice Eight competitions.
The Fighting Irish have made the trek to Knoxville for six consecutive years, with 2003's races serving as a scrimmage and the 2005 tri-meet with UT and Michigan State cancelled after a round due to high winds.
This is one of two events the Lady Vols will host on Fort Loudoun Lake this year. Louisville comes to town on March 25 to close out the home schedule.
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