Rowing: Concludes BIG EAST Championships

  • By Julie Brown
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  • May 13, 2012 08:42 PM
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MORGANTOWN, W. Va. - The West Virginia University rowing team concluded its spring season, Sunday, at the BIG EAST Championships on Mercer Lake in West Windsor, N.J.

The Mountaineers advanced to the Petite Final in three of their events, tallying 54 points for a seventh-place finish overall.

“All of our crews raced well today,” says coach Jimmy King. “The rowers made needed adjustments from the morning time trials and the coxswains called good races throughout the day. There were no letdowns or regrets and that's about all we can ask for at the end of the year.”

West Virginia’s varsity eight crew of Jenelle Spencer, Hilary Meale, Rachelle Purych, Kelly Kramer, Shannon Gribbons, Danielle Widecrantz, Karen Verwey, Courtney Schrand and coxswain Mallory Fisher opened the regatta for the Mountaineers by competing in the first time trial of the day.

The crew crossed the line in 6:41.44 to advance to the afternoon Petite Final against Rutgers, Connecticut and Villanova. The team placed second in that final, finishing in 6:59.36, behind Rutgers (6:54.52), but ahead of Connecticut (7:01.03) and Villanova (7:06.76).

Sophomore Courtney Schrand was named to the All-BIG EAST First Team for the second consecutive year for helping lead the Mountaineers to an overall sixth-place finish in the varsity eight event.

“Courtney embodies my notion of an all-conference athlete in that she works hard every day,” King says. “She is as consistent and dependable as any coach could demand and she has certainly earned the recognition.”

Following the varsity eight, the second varsity eight took to the water for their morning time trial. The crew of Brittany Doss, Mollie Rosen, Danika Rencken, Rachel Cokeley, Jessica Kelly, Amanda Hirsch, Jessica Hurlbert, Lisa Deklau and coxswain Morgan Leach finished the trial in 6:52.86 to earn a place in the Petite Final.

The team finished second to Georgetown (7:06.97) in that final, having crossed the line in 7:08.91. They placed ahead of Rutgers (7:14.38) and Villanova (7:23.70).

The Mountaineers next competed in the varsity four event, where the crew of Rebecca Knecht, Brianna Dendler, Elizabeth Duarte, Tamyra Roberts and coxswain Ellen Shular finished its morning time trial in 7:39.99 to advance to the Petite Final.

West Virginia placed second in that final, behind Connecticut (7:55.39), but ahead of Rutgers (8:03.50) and Villanova (8:14.23).

Lastly, the second varsity four crew of Bethany Anne Sapen, Melinda Sharon, Enya Messersmith, Kaitlyn Eason and coxswain Alexandra Basil raced against Notre Dame, Louisville, Rutgers and Connecticut in the final of their event.

The Mountaineers ultimately placed fourth behind Notre Dame (7:44.37), Louisville (8:00.45), and Rutgers (8:07.62) but ahead of Connecticut (8:16.68).

“We had seniors racing in three of the four crews competing today adding valuable experience and depth,” King says. “They have all contributed to the steady progress of our program during their time at WVU and we will carry that forward into new challenges next year.”

Notre Dame won the BIG EAST team title for a ninth consecutive year with 111 points, followed by Syracuse (97), Louisville (87), Georgetown (69), Connecticut (60), Rutgers (55), WVU (54) and Villanova (30).