CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. – The University of Tennessee women’s rowing team kicked off the fall season with three first place finishes in four races at the 15th annual Chattanooga Head Race on Saturday. The Lady Vols claimed four gold and three silver medals at the event and have now collected 37 total gold medals in program history at the Chattanooga event.
“Overall, it was very productive day for us,” UT Head Coach Lisa Glenn said. “Clearly, we are very early in the process of our year and have many steps to take to get where we eventually want to be. That being said, this day, in and of itself, was a tremendous growth opportunity between the morning and the afternoon for our full team.”
The Orange and White opened the day with first- and third-place finishes in the Women’s Collegiate Eight race which featured 12 boats. Tennessee’s “Quest” shell, comprised of sophomore coxswain Katie Ross, junior Erin-Monique Shelton, sophomore Mary Dreusike, senior Krista Gearing, junior Kate Brownlee, freshman Libuše Bruncvíkova’, senior Mary Jones, senior Jessica Ayers and senior Renee Brittle, took gold in the first event of the day, completing the course in 16:41.7. Though Alabama took second, UT’s other shell, “HWPO,” took third, finishing in 17:37.1, just 22 seconds behind the second-place boat. The “HWPO” boat was made up of sophomore coxswain Sydney Newman, freshman Rachel Dooley, senior Marisa Mohan, sophomore Laura Miller, sophomore Erin Gray, junior Alex Shishkov, sophomore Stephanie Hunley, freshman Ruth Waldrop and freshman Melissa Toms.
UT took second and third in the women’s Collegiate Double race, its second event of the day. The senior tandem of Genevieve Collins and Kendra Warren finished second in 20:19.1, just behind a boat from Chattanooga Rowing. A pair of sophomores in Jewell Ludwigsen and Brittany Sehring took third in the race, completing the course in 21:49.3.
The Lady Vols swept the top three spots in the Women’s Collegiate Pair, with Gearing and Brownlee coming in first in 20:12.3. Ayers and Brittle took second, followed by sophomore Erin Gray and freshman Ruth Ann Johnson, who took third in 21:35.8.
The final event of the day for UT was the Women’s Collegiate Four which featured 17 boats. Ross directed the shell with Shelton, Jones, Bruncvíkova’ and Miller to a first-place finish in 18:30, while freshman coxswain Johanna Greenburg led Dreusike, Sehring, Warren and Collins to second-place with a time of 19:03. Boats from Alabama claimed the three and four spots, but the Lady Vols earned a fifth-place showing from Shishkov, Toms, Dooley, Mohan and freshman coxswain Rebekah Linn. Newman, Waldrop, Hunley, Ludwigsen and Johnson rounded out the race for Tennessee, finishing in 12th.
“We used the day well,” Glenn said. “We’ll take it and move forward and utilize it as we prepare for Boston.”
After a successful day, the Lady Vols now look ahead to the Head of the Charles Regatta in Boston, Mass., next weekend. The regatta is the largest in the world and features over 7,500 athletes competing in 55 different races.