Recruits look to help Tritons achieve goals

    The UCSD women’s crew team aims to begin its new season with reinvigorating energy and athletic confidence, supplied by a considerable number of fresh recruits balanced by a substantial cadre of four-year returners, head coach Patti Pinkerton said.

    “”We feel confident we will get to nationals this year, and we are very excited about it,”” Pinkerton said.

    The Tritons have feverishly practiced to start their season with steadily solid performances, since the team has set goals and is intent on dominating its rivals this year with a stronger and varied team.

    “”Overall the strength of the team is much greater this year, both in physical strength and the bond within the team, “” senior rower Jen Watters said.

    Although the team finished as the fourth-fastest Division II crew in the nation, it finished last season ranked sixth in the NCAA polls, in which the Western region was cited as a particularly fast and strong region to compete in.

    “”We missed out on national selection because the top four crews came from the West [No. 1 UC Davis, No. 2 Western Washington, No. 3 Humboldt State and No. 4 UCSD]. Our goal is to finish in the top two this year in our region, which would put us in the medal spot at nationals,”” Pinkerton said.

    The team has goals set on making it to the national championships by the end of May and wants to improve upon their record.

    “”Last year in the season we were off and on, but this year we expect a consistent, strong performance,”” Watters said.

    The Tritons have a number of key opponents they plan on overpowering, including arch-rival Western Washington.

    “”Humboldt State has always been a rival in the lightweight and open categories, so they would be our nearest rivals. UC Davis has always been a rival, but with their move to Division I, it becomes less of a concern. Western Washington from the Northwest is now the team to beat,”” Pinkerton said.

    The exceptionally diverse strength will be complemented by five four-year returning athletes instrumental to the team’s dreams of making it to nationals later this year. These members include junior coxswain Claire Rommelfanger, juniors Alexis Kleckner and Stefanie Barriere, lightweight junior co-captain Liz Jones and Watters.

    “”This is the strongest team weave fielded in my tenure, and our juniors will also be providing leadership,”” Pinkerton said. “”All are medalists from our league championships and the seniors won a bronze medal at the NCAA Qualifier last May.””

    Further supplementing the team is a large number of new recruits, untested rookies who will likely serve the team well in its quest for a chance to compete at nationals.

    “”We have a larger number of recruits this year than in previous years. A few of them are very strong lightweights ‹ we should have a very strong lightweight team this year,”” Watters said.

    As the season begins, the team has been put to the test with an intensive, early-morning practice schedule.

    “”We have been focusing more on erging [land training] to help overcome mental barriers that have previously hindered our performance,”” Watters said.

    Despite the contrast between the seasoned four-year returners and unsullied rookies, the team expects a high level of bonding to occur over the course of the coming season.

    “”The team is really close and supportive this year, which we believe will really help us get to nationals this year,”” Watters said.

    Their first competiton of the season is on Feb. 28 at UC Irvine.

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