Triton boats gear up for Division II playoffs: Men send two boats to nationals, women four to region

    Despite high hopes set at the Miller Cup, UCSD women’s crew failed to bring home any medals last weekend at the Western Intercollegiate Rowing Association championships in Lake Natoma, Calif.

    Guardian File photo

    In a field of 30 mainly Division I colleges and universities, the Tritons were able to send five boats to final rounds.

    “”We lacked consistency and we under-performed in some cases,”” said head coach Pattie Pinkerton.

    According to Pinkerton, one of the most notable examples of this was the varsity-four boat.

    In its first heat, the crew was among the top four in what proved to be an extremely close race, with the first four finishers all ending within one meter of each other. St. Mary’s College and University of Puget Sound both finished with a time of 8:22.4, and Gonzaga University came in at 8:22.9. The Tritons finished just behind with a time of 8:23.3.

    However, the close race left the crew tied for the final, and UCSD’s time fell to 9:02 for a fifth-place finish. Though it was enough to win the petit final, the time disparity was a letdown for the team.

    “”That was a race where I was really disappointed with our consistency,”” Pinkerton said.

    But the biggest heartbreak of the weekend was the results of the novice-four race, which Pinkerton had held high hopes for going into the competition.

    The first heat went well for the crew, which finished second in 8:05, only four seconds behind Loyola Marymount University.

    In the final, however, the Tritons lost an oar and went off course as a result. The crew quickly recovered, but was still only able to finish fifth with a final time of 8:00.

    “”They did a heroic job getting back into the course,”” Pinkerton said.

    The race “”was a real heartbreaker,”” especially because UCSD was the defending champion of that category, Pinkerton said.

    The varsity-eight crew also had trouble meeting its expectations.

    “”We came in 13th last year and we were trying to improve on that, and we didn’t,”” Pinkerton said.

    In its heat, the varsity open-eight boat finished fifth in 7:46. The crew improved for its final, however, coming in second behind Lewis and Clark College with 7:41 — a five-second improvement.

    But the team’s improvement still only landed it 14th overall — not enough to improve upon last year.

    Pinkerton noted that the boat’s top two heavyweight rowers, Amber Hopkins and Jennifer Wolsborn, were back in competition for the first time after recovering from pneumonia and back problems, respectively. Brooke Albiston was also back after taking over a week off to heal a rib injury.

    “”The boat just didn’t have the confidence when you have the same people all the time,”” Pinkerton said.

    One crew that was able to improve in its final was the novice-eight. The boat finished only seventh in its first heat in 7:53, a while back from the winners, according to Pinkerton.

    However, in the final, the crew picked up a third place finish with 7:52, falling behind University of Colorado and Orange Coast College.

    “”They turned it around and beat some of the crews that beat them [in the heat],”” Pinkerton said.

    The novice-eight boat finished 15th overall.

    The novice-lightweight four and the second of the two novice-eight boats only competed in finals, finishing seventh and sixth overall, respectively.

    The UCSD women’s crew will take this weekend off, but will travel to Sacramento next weekend to compete in the Pacific Coast Division II Regional Championships.

    UCSD will send two varsity-eight boats, a lightweight-eight crew and a novice-four boat to compete.

    Also in attendance will be UC Davis, Humbolt State University and Western Washington University. Pinkerton hopes to finish in the top three.

    “”Given the [eight weeks of] lost training time, I don’t think [finishing in the top two] is possible this year,”” Pinkerton said.

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