Leading the UT shell to its first top-five finish in the Championship 8+ event in Boston was sophomore coxswain Katie Ross. Her boat of seniors Nina Dobratz, Krista Gearing, Mary Jones, Jessica Ayers and Renee Brittle, juniors Kate Brownlee and Erin-Monique Shelton and freshman Libu¹e Bruncvíkova’ completed the three-mile course in 16:26.99, just five seconds behind the third place shell.
"The nine women in the Champ 8+ used this exciting environment to fuel necessary improvements and fulfill their race plan,” UT Head Coach Lisa Glenn said. “I'm proud of the effort they put forth, and am looking forward to contributing to and supporting the evolution of this exciting boat."
The U.S. Rowing Princeton Training Center team took gold in 15:26.572 followed by the London Training Center team. The University of Michigan took third in 16:21.65 with the Yale University squad following closely behind in fourth. Tennessee’s took fifth ahead of 34 other boats including defending national champion Brown University and Stanford University.
In the first race of the day, the Championship 4+, the Lady Vols took 15th. This year’s event marked the first time UT has entered in the Championship Fours event which featured 21 shells. The Orange and White boat was comprised of freshman coxswain Johanna Greenberg, sophomores Mary Dreusike and Brittany Sehring, junior Kendra Warren and senior Genevieve Collins. Sunday marked Greenberg’s first race action at Tennessee.
“The four crew had a great opportunity to do some exciting things down the course today,” Glenn said. “They let a couple of factors become obstacles instead of motivators. We will need to learn from it now in order to help the team in a way they are capable of as we move forward.”
The London Training Center team took the gold in the Championship Fours with a time of 17:51.28 followed by Roforeningen KVIK of Denmark in second and University of Victoria rounding out the top three.
Tennessee’s fifth place finish in the Championship 8+ race marks the third season of improving results at the Head of the Charles. In 2005, UT finished 12th in the race, while last season the Orange and White shell took seventh.
Today’s fifth place finish, combined with yesterday’s gold in the Club 8+ race gives UT its best performance in program history at the Head of the Charles. The Lady Vols claimed their third consecutive first-place finish in the Club 8+ on the Charles River.
“I’m pleased with the improvements our Club Eight crew was willing to make going into this weekend,” Glenn said. “Because of the entire crew, they put together a solid performance.”
While the varsity squad was in Boston, the novices competed for the first time this season at the Head of the Tennessee Regatta on Saturday in Knoxville. Tennessee had three of its four boats finish in the top five of the Women’s Collegiate Novice 8+ race.
The Virginia Tech “B” boat took first in 20:54.9, followed by the UT “Smokey” shell in 21:37.3. The boat featured freshman coxswain Rebekah Linn and freshmen Adrienne Lawson, Amanda Lucas, Heather Wilson, Lilly Rowland, Caris Green, Ashley Menner, Jenny Davis and Andrea Turner.
Auburn took third with the Lady Vols’ “Rubicon” boat, comprised of freshman coxswain Esther Stratton and freshmen Tiffany Blevins, Cheryl Lueke, Brittney Moore, Angelica Amicucci, Kelly Steffen, Leilani Young, Kelly Dyer and Becky Johns, taking fourth.
Tennessee’s “Torchbearer” shell of freshman coxswain Kyndal Williams, junior Andrea Delgado, sophomores Kayla Kmet and Lora Aaron, and freshmen Sara Knoll, Acacia Edmiston, Juliann Perrino, Katie Strader, Stacey Blalock and Andrea Delgado, took fifth in 22:45.6. UT’s “Paladin” boat, comprised of freshman coxswain Gabby Bloodsaw, sophomore Lindsey Kirkland, and freshmen Katie Braga, Sara Horne, Lauren Davenport, Angela Allen, Rachel Bush, Elizabeth Hood and Chelsie Scansen, finished ninth.
The Lady Vols now take a week off before returning to action on Nov. 3 at the Head of the Chattahoochee Regatta in Chattanooga, Tenn.