Excitement builds as Crew preps for Northwest Conference Championships
By Tim Cable /// Staff Writer
When you’ve ranked in the top 15 nationally, second in the Northwest, and beat your longtime rivals for the first time in recent memory, you have every right to be excited, and deserve some appreciation and attention. The Lewis & Clark women’s rowing team is in the midst of one of the best seasons seen on Palatine Hill in a long time. A strong couple of previous regattas, a weekend off, and another great week of practice have the Pioneers ready for action with this weekend’s Northwest Conference Championships.
The Pios competed at American Lake two weekends ago, and the women’s varsity stacked up well against some excellent competition. First up was Pacific Lutheran University, who just edged out the Pios. “It was a good fight, but we lost it in the sprint at the end,” said Ryan LaVigne ’18. The Pios finished with a time of 6:58.
The second race offered a shot at redemption, and the Pios were ready for it. “We came off the start with a lot more fire,” said LaVigne. The Pios rode their hot start to finish a full boat length ahead of the University of Puget Sound. They finished with a time of 6:53, defeating UPS for the first time in recent memory.
The Pios are a strong crew up and down the roster, part of the reason they are finding so much success. The second varsity boat stayed competitive with PLU, posting a time of 7:23 in their first race. In 2V second race, the Pios beat UPS’s 3V team but fell short against the UPS 2V, finishing with a time of 7:23. Finally, the JV four, a boat made up of athletes who were brand new to the sport in the beginning of the year, defeated PLU in the first race and UPS in the second, with times of 8:26 and 8:34, respectively. They might be novices in title, but they certainly don’t look like it. “They’ve been killing it,” said LaVigne.
After a full week of hard training, the Pios are now tapering in preparation for the Northwest Conference Championships. The Pios “are gunning for PLU pretty heavily…and have a chance of getting it.” LaVigne expressed her excitement for a chance to overtake PLU in the regatta, which will also feature UPS, Willamette Unversity, and Pacific University.
The excitement for the Pios goes further than just Northwest domination. The weekend after the Northwest Conference Championships, the Pios will compete at the Western Intercollegiate Rowing Association Championship (WIRA) for a shot at making the NCAA National Championships. It certainly is an exciting team to be involved with the women’s rowing team, and if you’re not a fan yet, it’s time to hop on board.
On the men’s side, the Pios are finding success as well. Stacked up against some tough Northwest competition, the Pios placed second in the varsity eight behind PLU, with a time of 6:32. The varsity four finished six second behind UPS, clocking in at 7:07, and the second varsity four finished at 7:56, again behind the Loggers. The JV four took second to UPS with a time 8:11, and the JV eight placed behind UPS with a time of 7:04. The men’s novice four took second behind Puget Sound, finishing at 7:42.
After eight months of training, countless hours of hard work and sweat, the Pios seem poised to take advantage of the opportunity they have waited on for so long. These next few weeks might be filled with prepping for finals and finishing up papers for most of us, but the crew teams will be taking full advantage of the opportunities to show what they can do. It’s an exciting time, indeed!