Rowers rack up more medals at N.C. Championships, gear up for SIRA Regatta
Coming off a strong spring season-opening performance at the Waterfield Cup hosted by Virginia Tech, Liberty University’s crew team traveled south this past Saturday and continued to turn heads at the North Carolina State Rowing Championships.
The Flames and Lady Flames both entered two Novice 4 boats and one Novice 8 crew in the regatta, hosted by High Point University on Oak Hollow Lake, which was only wide enough to hold 1,500-meter races with boats rowing in seven lanes.
Besides Liberty, the races featured teams from High Point, JMU, North Carolina State, UNC Chapel Hill, Davidson, UNC Wilmington, South Carolina, and VCU, as well as several boats from North Carolina high schools.
“It was about the same level of competition as the Waterfield Cup,” Liberty Head Coach Debbie Prowse said. “We did have pretty strong crosswinds that day, holding at 12 mph coming from portside and blowing down on the starboard side, which makes it kind of tricky and makes for tough rowing conditions, but we handled it pretty well.”
Liberty’s women’s Novice 4 A (6:18.72) and B (6:33.92) crews finished first and second out of seven boats in their race, rowing in lanes 4 and 7. The A lineup featured senior Morgan Schaible, freshman Jada Lane, junior Robin Payton, and freshman Grace Seibert as rowers with senior Tim Bentz serving as coxswain, while the B crew was powered by freshman Elizabeth Grace Norris, senior Peyton Chandler, and freshmen Rachel Teague and Kimberly Loutzenheiser and exhorted by junior coxswain Alyssa Horne.
They defeated boats from USC (6:44.96), UNCW (6:55.93), JMU (7:07.64), High Point (7:08.55), and NC State (8:27.59).
“That was an exciting race, and it was nice to go 1-2 across the finish line to win gold and silver medals,” Prowse said.
Then, the two Lady Flames crews joined forces to strike gold in the women’s Novice 8 race in 5:54.01 , the University of South Carolina (6:03.8) by nearly 10 seconds and third-place NC State (6:23.14) by nearly 30 seconds.
“We were neck and neck with USC for almost the whole race,” Prowse said. “Then in the last 350 meters, our coxswain, Alyssa (Horne), called for an early sprint, and the rowers were able to bring the rating up and powered through the finish line.”
Liberty’s men’s Novice 4 B boat, with a new lineup of rowers that included junior Clayton Allred, senior Morgan O’Connor, freshman Blake Mosshart, and sophomore Carlos Diaz and Bentz as coxswain, opened the day of races by winning a gold medal in its heat in 5:53.82, ahead of UNC (6:04.16) and High Point (6:35.90).
The Flames’ Novice 4 A boat featuring sophomore Kurt Herbert, freshman Luke Bayona, senior Zebediah Foster, and freshman David West with sophomore Callie Perini as coxswain rowed to a faster time (5:43.83), but only earned a bronze medal in its heat, trailing High Point (5:34.11) and UNC (5:35.85) and beating USC (6:13.34), NC State (6:15.32), and JMU (6:57.47).
Those two crews combined to form the bronze-medal winning men’s Novice 8 crew (with Perini as the coxswain), which completed a further-shortened 1,000-meter course in 3:18.67, behind only High Point (3:12.56) and UNC’s A team (3:14.24) and ahead of USC (3:25.27) and UNC’s B boat (3:35.06).
Complete results are available online.
This Friday and Saturday, the Flames and Lady Flames will compete in the Southern Intercollegiate Rowing Association (SIRA) Championship Regatta on Melton Hill Lake in Oak Ridge, Tenn., also the site for the May 20-21 American Collegiate Rowing Association (ACRA) National Championships.
By Ted Allen/Staff Writer