GOLD RIVER, Calif. – Saturday marked the first day of the two-day Lake Natoma Invitational in Gold River, Calif. The No. 7 Stanford women’s rowing team was one of six ranked teams in the field of nine schools. The Cardinal put together perhaps its best performance of the season in the afternoon.
The seventh-ranked Cardinal had recorded some great individual boat performances in each of the first two weekends of the season, but on Saturday afternoon head coach Yasmin Farooq saw perhaps the group’s best overall team performance of the spring thus far.
Stanford swept three races versus No. 4 USC and Sacramento State, the first time this spring they have swept the varsity four, second varsity eight and varsity eight races. USC was coming off wins in both eight races during the morning session as well as San Diego Crew Classic titles in the varsity four and varsity eight.
The afternoon run started with the varsity four. It has been a boat that has featured several different lineups this season, but has known success as it handed then ranked No. 3 Virginia its first loss of the year. Not only did it pick up a victory against USC and Sacramento State, but it also did so in impressive fashion, finishing nearly six seconds ahead of the Trojans with a time of 7:33.9.
"The morning gave us a good sense of what we really needed to do," said senior coxswain Katie Lopez. "This morning we struggled to lock into a good rhythm. We worked on it, dialed into each other and were able to execute our race."
Lopez, sophomore Ellie Parker and freshman Reilly Hayes have been constants in the four the last three weeks. Sophomore Meredith Fischer was in the boat for the second straight weekend. New to the lineup this weekend was junior Alix Chrumka. She made her season debut in the morning session after being out with an injury since the end of the 2013 season.
The second varsity eight has raced very well the last two weekends, winning two of its four races. The wins have come against No. 2 Ohio State and No. 4 USC. The win last weekend over Ohio State snapped the Buckeye’s 19-race winning streak. Even the two losses came by less than two seconds.
The 2V8 had become used to close races, but left no doubt this afternoon. Stanford put the race away well before the finish line and finished with an open water victory. Its time of 6:41.8 was over eight seconds faster than USC.
"We hadn't raced from behind yet this year, so we talked about how we could make that up after the morning race," said senior Chierika Ukogu. "We started down this afternoon, but didn't let that phase us and were able to move back and take the lead. We have a lot of experienced rowers in our lineup and a lot of cohesion."
The varsity eight has been steadily improving, but was still looking for its first win over a ranked opponent. The top group got just that as it clocked a 6:36.8 to win by over three seconds.
"This race gives us a lot of confidence moving forward," said senior Anna Dawson. "We had some things to work on from the race this morning and have been working on our race plan. This afternoon and executed our plan to the best of our ability. We still have work to do, but it was a good win for us."
The final race of the day was the Grand Final of the second varsity four. The race was neck-and-neck between the four teams at the midway point, but Stanford dropped behind late to finish fourth.
In the team standings, the Cardinal sits tied for third with USC as each school has five points. Brown and Cal each sit atop the team standings with six points.
Tomorrow will be the final day of the Lake Natoma Invitational. Racing will start at 8 a.m. Stanford’s first race will be the varsity four at 8:30 a.m. The Cardinal will be racing against No. 9 Notre Dame and No. 20 University of San Diego.
Stanford started the Lake Natoma Invitational with second place finishes in each of its four morning races. No. 6 Brown was able to take the victories in the varsity four, second varsity eight and varsity eight races over the Cardinal and Kansas while USC crossed before the Cardinal in the second varsity four.
“It was a very exciting morning of racing across the board,” said head coach Farooq. “This is really an exceptional field of teams here and we had solid races against Brown in the eights. We will take what we learned from the morning races and apply it to the afternoon against USC and Sacramento State.”
The second varsity eight race came down to the wire. Midway through the race Brown had built a five-seat lead on Stanford, but the Cardinal would push back and draw near even by the end of the race. However, Brown just edged out Stanford at the finish line, winning by one second. Stanford clocked a 6:34.3 while Brown had a 6:33.2.
“We got up at the start last weekend, so being down early was a little different for us,” said Courtney Carrabino. “It was good for our boat to hold on once we fell behind and walk back a little bit on them at a couple of different points. We can use our moves a little more aggressively and use our length and power in our legs.”
The varsity eight also had a tight race with the Bears. Brown was able to pull through with a time of 6:26.0, but Stanford was on their heels at the end, coming in 2.9 seconds behind with a 6:28.9.
In both four races, Stanford came in second as well. The Cardinal posted a 7:24.4 in the varsity four to finish seven seconds behind Brown. The second varsity four race was close for a while, but USC pulled away for the win with a 7:32.9. Stanford posted a 7:41.6 to finish ahead of Oklahoma and Sacramento State.
Lake Natoma Invitational
Gold River, Calif.
April 12, 2014
1. Brown – 7:17.4
2. Stanford – 7:24.4
3. Kansas – 7:45.7
Second Varsity Eight
1. Brown – 6:33.2
2. Stanford – 6:34.2
3. Kansas – 7:01.3
1. Brown – 6:26.0
2. Stanford – 6:28.9
3. Kansas – 6:56.6
Second Varsity Four
1. USC – 7:32.9
2. Stanford – 7:41.6
3. Oklahoma – 7:53.1
4. Sacramento State – 8:00.6
1. Stanford - 7:33.9
2. USC - 7:39.6
3. Sacramento State - 8:08.4
Second Varsity Eight
1. Stanford - 6:41.8
2. USC - 6:50.2
3. Sacramento State - 7:17.8
1. Stanford - 6:36.8
2. USC - 6:40.5
3. Sacramento State - 7:10.4
Second Varsity Four Grand Final
1. Cal - 7:45.3
2. USC - 7:50.4
3. Notre Dame - 7:52.7
4. Stanford - 7:59.2
Varsity Eight (Morning) – Liza Gurtin (Coxswain), Anna Dawson, Lilly Tinapple, Nancy Miles, Ruth Narode, Christina Bax, Daphne Martschenko, Filippa Karrfelt, Kristy Wentzel
Varsity Eight (Afternoon) – Naomi Cornman (Coxswain), Anna Dawson, Lilly Tinapple, Nancy Miles, Ruth Narode, Filippa Karrfelt, Daphne Martschenko, Christina Bax, Kristy Wentzel
Second Varsity Eight (Morning) – Naomi Cornman (Coxswain), Courtney Carrabino, Kay Rusher, Amanda Lorei, Ali Fauci, Katie Toothman, Valerie Frank, Chierika Ukogu, Emily Grundman
Second Varsity Eight (Afternoon) – Liza Gurtin (Coxswain), Courtney Carrabino, Kay Rusher, Amanda Lorei, Ali Fauci, Katie Toothman, Valerie Frank, Chierika Ukogu, Emily Grundman
Varsity Four – Katie Lopez (Coxswain), Ellie Parker, Meredith Fischer, Alix Chrumka, Reilly Hayes
Second Varsity Four (Morning) – Rachael Stryer (Coxswain), Karen Munyan, Julia Howell, Hope Sheils, Nicole Gilmore
Second Varsity Four (Afternoon) – Rachael Stryer (Coxswain), Emmie Kehoe, Hope Sheils, Cynthia Nelson, Nicole Gilmore