In a weekend when only its novice crews competed, Minnesota left the San Diego Crew Classic this weekend with a somewhat disappointing fourth-place finish in the Grand Final on Sunday.
But it was a great step in the right direction for assistant coach Andy Foltz.
“Our number one goal coming into Saturday was to get to the Grand Final [on] Sunday,” Foltz said.
The Gophers did just that by winning their heat in the opening day of the two-day regatta in San Diego.
Minnesota’s first novice eight beat out Oklahoma, Stanford, Sacramento State, Orange Coast College, San Diego and California-Irvine on Saturday to advance to the Grand Final on Sunday.
Foltz said winning their heat Saturday was crucial in making a statement.
Minnesota competed against California, Washington, UCLA, Oklahoma and Washington State on Sunday and did not fare as well. The Gophers finished fourth in the final of the event.
“It was a really big weekend for that boat,” Foltz said. “They learned how to win, first off, and then they learned how to move forward coming up on the short end.”
The crew was less than a second behind third-place Washington for a medal in the Grand Final on Sunday but finished 14 seconds behind first-place California.
“They had their heart set on a medal,” Foltz said, “but they gave some really good programs a run for their money, and they should be proud of that feat.”
Minnesota’s second novice eight rowed in the same race as the first novice eight because there were not enough crews to field another race.
Foltz said that put the crew at a disadvantage, but he said they performed well for their level and defeated San Diego State.
That crew finished sixth in its heat and did not qualify for any Sunday race.
Despite the fourth-place finish from the first novice eight Sunday, Foltz said he was satisfied with what this weekend meant for the team.
“It’s not where we wanted to be place-wise by any means, but at the same time, we’re improving and getting ready for the Big Ten schedule,” Foltz said.
Minnesota’s varsity crews did not race this weekend, but they will resume action April 7 at the Big Ten Double Dual in Bloomington, Ind.
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