Coach Wendy Davis compared the Gophers rowing team to the Minnesota Twins.
Right now, that’s not a good thing.
Minnesota competed against Wisconsin, and due partly to illnesses and injuries, the Gophers lost five of six races on Lake Mendota in Madison and fell 45-24 based on the Big Ten scoring system. In addition, the Badgers won the inaugural Burnin’ Blade Award in their first home meet since 2002 by winning the first varsity eight by 4.4 seconds.
With some of the rowers sick, Davis moved Leah Rogotzke and Christine Beauparlant up from the second varsity eight to the first, and although the race was close, team chemistry was lacking.
“You’re responsible for your seat and your oar and that’s really all you can control,” captain Teresa Logemann said. “That’s what healthy people are focusing on.”
The lineup shift also affected the second varsity eight, which lost to Wisconsin by 9.4 seconds in a race Davis said was never really close.
“Wisconsin got a lead early and just extended it. That was probably one of the toughest races to watch as the coach,” she said, adding that she plans to adjust the seating of the boat. “We were never really in the race.”
The Gophers’ first varsity four lost by 3 seconds, and the second varsity four lost by more than 20 seconds.
In the novice division, the Gophers lost the first boat by about 4 seconds, but the second boat finished 4 seconds ahead of the Badgers.
The Gophers now have two weeks to prepare for the Big Ten championships. Practice is difficult without a healthy team and even more difficult with finals coming up. The 40-degree weather and high winds in which the teams competed Sunday certainly didn’t help either.
Logemann said she expects a tough week of practice, but when someone in one of the boats is hurt or sick, the women have to row on machines or in groups of six instead of eight.
“You literally can’t practice,” Davis said. “You can’t row with seven. You take it out and then they row it in by sixes, so you’ve ruined the practice but that’s the way it is. That’s life.”
The Gophers should benefit from this year’s schedule change. The conference meet is normally the first weekend in May and just a week after the team’s final race of the regular season.
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