Women's Crew Wins Two

    UCSD women’s crew took the gloves off and smacked around the competition at the Western Intercollegiate Rowing Championships last weekend.

    The Tritons grabbed two pennants at the event, which was held at Lake Natoma.

    Four of the nine boats that entered the event left with medals, and there were also two fourth-place finishes.

    The first pennant came in the lightweight four. The boat was made up of Jaime Cooper, Emily Gray, Cari Blemker, Julie Snyder and coxswain Liz Edmunson.

    Boat captain Heather Beckman was unable to row because of an illness. Cooper took her place and led the Tritons to lightweight gold.

    “”[Beckman] was ill the week before,”” said Patti Pinkerton, UCSD women’s crew head coach. “”It cut into her training.””

    With Cooper in the boat, though, UCSD had no worries.

    “”She has really come on,”” Pinkerton said. “”This is the first year that she has rowed lightweight. She gets such a great rhythm.””

    The other top spot came at the hands of the novice four boat. Amber Hopkins, Amanda Hawkins, Amy Heidersbach and Taylor Anderson McGill, with coxswain Nicole Loyd, led the team to victory.

    The win was especially sweet, as the Tritons fended off two San Diego rivals, San Diego State University and the University of San Diego, to take the title.

    “”Because the novice four is often the best four of a novice program, what it says is that our talent matches anyone else’s talent,”” Pinkerton said. “”The San Diego State squad was all recruited athletes. It shows that we have a strong program here and a classy program here. We can go up against an opponent like San Diego State.””

    The Tritons had other impressive finishes.

    The lightweight eight boat was partly compromised of the members of the lightweight four boat. They were joined by Claire Doyle, Molly James, Liz Jones and Rebecca Rodriguez.

    The crew managed to come in second in the lightweight eight race, narrowly losing to Humboldt State.

    The race was close until about 1,300 meters, when Humboldt pulled away.

    Humboldt did not compete in the earlier lightweight four competition, so its lightweight eight boat could be fresher.

    “”That was their decision — to focus on one race,”” Pinkerton said. “”I hoped we were strong enough to do well. Humboldt has a good lightweight program.””

    The second novice eight boat also earned some hardware, finishing third.

    The crew was comprised of coxswain Claire Romelfanger, Buffy Confalone, Amelyn Ho, Lisa Peerali, Tamar Carmona, Jen Watters, Helen Chang, Nicole Corbett and Lila McIver.

    For the icing on the cake, Gray was named to the WIRA All-Star Team.

    UCSD was not as successful in the varsity boats.

    “”We have a young crew there and we had some bad luck,”” Pinkerton said. “”Based on our time, we should have been in the finals. It was just unfortunate that we were badly seeded. I thought that we were a crew that had a medal chance.””

    Next up for UCSD women’s crew is the Pacific Coast Rowing Championships, also at Lake Natoma, Calif. on May 12 at 8 a.m.

    UCSD looks to be successful at the event because many of the bigger schools will be competing at the Pac10 Championships.

    The Tritons will also be sending a couple of varsity boats to the Pac10 Championships to see how they rate, so it should be a busy weekend for UCSD crew.

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