MONDAY, MARCH 19, 2012
Women find third gear in Oak Ridge races
The Jacksonville University women’s rowing team had an affair with third as the Dolphins finished there five times in the Oak Ridge Invitational during the weekend.

The Women’s 4’s was the only race in which the Dolphins didn’t finish third and that boat, with Jordan Heylock, April Beck, Kelly Cleveland, Samara Generals and Rebecca Clark was second to Buffalo Sunday morning. The 8’s, with Savannah Rice, Emily Close, Cat Plesko, Whitney Mathews, Jordyn Clary, Joanna Zachowski, Abby Sierigk, Maycee Dioneda and Mary Mosier finished behind Buffalo and Dayton in the other Sunday race for the team. The 8’s boat wound up third in both Saturday sessions finishing behind Notre Dame and Alabama in its first race and behind Virginia and host Louisville in its second effort.

In the early 4’s race, Rice, Beck, Whitney Abeshear, Serena Summerfield and Clark also was third behind Notre Dame and Alabama while the afternoon 4’s, Rice, Beck, Abeshear, Summerfield and Clark came in behind Virginia and Louisville.

“It was a weekend with highs and lows,’’ coach Kris Muhl said. “Going up against Notre Dame and Alabama, both the eight and the four had solid races, but all agreed that the races were not anywhere near their potential.’’

Muhl said the eight was hampered by a poor start.

“The eight felt as though they had a poor start and were just not together. The four, mainly novice rowers, also felt that their timing was off and their technique was not at its best.’’

The race against UVA and Louisville was much better for both groups, according to Muhl.

“UVA is a very strong team and Louisville was right there with them,’’ Muhl said. “The eight felt they had a good start and they were right with the other teams out of the blocks. The power of the other teams added up throughout the body of the race, and there was only a short moment where they were just spinning their wheels, but they quickly regrouped and had a strong finish. The four also cleaned up a lot and had a much stronger race.’’

The team is in its Spring Break training program and resumes racing Saturday at Central Florida.