Windy conditions weren’t going to stop the Aggie rowing squad. But it still needed a furious run over the last 250 meters before it could retake the Jean Runyon Cup for the first time since 2008.
“Our team performed well given the conditions,” said coach Carissa Adams. “It made our rowing pretty difficult, but it was good to regain the Jean Runyon Cup. We walked through them at the end.”
In a matchup that went back and forth during the 2,000-meter race, Adams knew the only way for the Aggies to notch a victory was by controlling their own emotions.
“The key was to not get frazzled and not let the weight affect the boat,” Adams said. “They kept their composure and were able to shore up the win.”
With a season-best time of six minutes and 38.06 seconds by the varsity eight first team, the Aggies moved closer in the matchup’s annual record, but still trail 10-4 in overall competition with Sacramento State.
The varsity eight consisted of Lia DiAngelo at coxswain, Brittani De Riemer at stroke, Danielle Long at seven, Autumn Huey at six, Darcy Ward at five, Paige Kendall at four, Christine Bernatz at three, Becca Lindquist at two and Emily Roberts at bow.
The Aggies varsity eight overcame a commanding lead by the Hornets at the midday point of the race to close the boat-length deficit over the last part of the race. Sacramento State finished the race just a hair behind UC Davis with a time of six minutes and 38.21 seconds.
“They made a really strong move (at the finish).” Adams said. “They rode with confidence. It was an impressive race to watch.”
The Aggies varsity four, which consisted of coxswain Ellen Yau, Danika Reddick at stroke, Robyn Bryson as three, Garen Garza at two and Brooke O’Brien at the bow earned a victory for their team.
They narrowly beat the Hornets with a time of seven minutes and 45.35 seconds. Sacramento State ended with a mark of seven minutes and 48.8 seconds.
While this win will provide some momentum for this Saturday’s NorCal/SoCal Challenge, Adams said she’d still like her team to improve on its times.
“Since the San Diego Classic, we haven’t done enough because of the distractions,” she said. “We’re progressing, but we still have a long way to go. We need to use these next three weeks to get faster.”
The distraction she’s referring to is the recent talk of the possibility that the rowing team could be cut by ICA next year.
Adams, however, has been concerned with the parts of the program she can control in its current state.
Although the win gives the Aggies a barometer for the steps they have made during the season, Adams said that comparing her team to their opponents will prove to be irrelevant if it continues to show improvement.
“[The win] is helpful because we can gauge a little more with other teams out there,” Adams said. “We don’t want to focus on what other programs are doing. The focus needs to be on ourselves.”
MARCOS RODRIGUEZ can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org