The Varsity 8+ celebrates after winning the V8+ championship, as well as clinching the C-USA crown.
May 15, 2012
By Courtney Fritts
Rocky Top was ringing in the air at Melton Hill Lake in Oak Ridge, Tenn., on Saturday as the Lady Vols rowing team captured a Conference USA title.
The grand finals in the afternoon produced some exciting races for fans. The Lady Vols Open 4+ started off the afternoon on a positive note, winning their race, followed by Texas and Oklahoma.
"When the Open 4 came down the race course, a lot was still happening over at the trailer, so that's where all the coaches were," Coach Lisa Glenn said. "When I saw them at about the 1500-meter, we were behind, but I didn't freak out, or get nervous because I knew we were going to pull through and bring home a win."
Next racing was the Novice 8+ and the Varsity 4+. But the two most important races, however, were the 2V8+ and the V8+. The second varsity 8+ impressed fans by a win, as well.
"It was a really exciting day overall, both of our races were executed perfectly," said the 2V8+ stroke seat Jennifer Bailey. "Our boat accomplished everything we set out to do, which made crossing the finish line first that much more satisfying."
The most exciting race of the day, however, was the grand finals of the varsity 8+ race. The Tennessee V8+ won against Texas by open water, with a time of 6:45.80.
As the last eight boat cooled down then rowed into the dock, they were cheered on by hundreds of fans, parents and the rest of their team. The team started singing Rocky Top and cheering as Glenn jogged alongside the eight on shore.
"It was an overwhelming, unforgettable feeling of joy and victory!" said varsity 8 coxswain, Ashley Fichthorn. "I will never forget that feeling of being supported by so many people. I couldn't stop smiling!"
After a tough year and facing many obstacles throughout their season, the Lady Vols found a way to take advantage of every circumstance they were put into and come out on top. The Lady Vols will have a couple of months off for the summer, then return in the fall ready to prepare and continue to get faster with every practice.
"Our races this Saturday really showed what we had been working for all season," said senior, Ashley Case. "The culmination of all our hard work was evident in every race with each boat completing their set goals. The team as a whole came together and got the work done, which gives us a strong foundation heading into next year."