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SMU First Varsity Eight Wins AAC Rowing Championship

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SMU First Varsity Eight Wins AAC Rowing Championship

Postby PonyPride » Sun May 19, 2019 12:38 am

From SMUMustangs.com:

SMU First Varsity Eight Wins Conference Championship

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. (SMU/AAC) – For the first time in program history, SMU stood at the top of the podium in rowing's premier event. The Mustangs, receiving votes and entering the American Athletic Conference Championships as the league's top team in the coaches poll, defeating four-time defending champion UCF by open water Friday.

SMU held a 1.3-second lead at the 500-meter split, and steadily increased its lead throughout the race, crossing the line in 7:13.415. With nearly a six-second advantage over second-place UCF, the Mustangs became the first team to defeat the Knights in the top event since 2014.

"Collegiate rowing starts with the V8, representing the highest caliber rowers in the program. It was awesome to see the jump our top crew has had over the past two years," head coach Kim Cupini exclaimed. "Our really stepped up this year, showcasing the speed we have in our program. The future of this program is heading in the right direction."

The Mustangs also claimed a gold medal in the 3V4, posting a time of 8:31.43 in front of UCF's 8:38.148. SMU also claimed a silver medal and three bronze medals as the only program to claim podium spots in all six events.

"The depth of our team cannot be overstated," Cupini stated. "To be the only program with all six of our crews on the podium is a great accomplishment. An achievement like that in our second season together at SMU shows the direction the program is going."

The six podium spots were not enough to claim the overall trophy, as the Mustangs finished four points behind UCF in the team standings, 180-176, the smallest margin in conference history. The difference came down to a margin of 2.226 seconds in the 2V8. The SMU bow was within a second of the UCF bow for the first three time splits in the race, but the Knights managed to pull away only slightly over the final 500 meters to hold of the Mustangs. The second-place finish is the highest at a conference championship regatta in program history.

"I am extremely proud of the race our 2V8 put together today," Cupini explained. "The crew made some good moves to separate themselves from the rest of the field, despite the adverse conditions. It came down to a two-boat race to essentially decide the overall title, and unfortunately the effort wasn't enough for the win."

The championships took place at the US Rowing National Performance Center on Friday instead of the originally scheduled Sunday due to the threat of severe weather in the area over the weekend. Despite the move, teams faced windy conditions. Delayed more than three hours Friday, the 2V8 was the first scored event after Old Dominion suffered a breakage in the in the 1V8, forcing a restart. The teams raced into a nearly 20-mph headwind at the start of the day, with increasing speeds throughout the day, gusting up to 40 mph.

1st Varsity 8+
Coxswain: Emily Fogg
Stroke: Brittany Rigg
7. Trevor Rose
6. Erin Pierce
5. Juliet Traylor
4. Madison van Meel
3. Megan Scott
2. Melissa Bradford
Bow: Peyton Mathews

2nd Varsity 8+
Coxswain: Melissa Chambers
Stroke: Caroline Snyder
7. Emily MacAdam
6. Sam Helmick-Schwarzmiller
5. Victoria Franklin
4. Abigail Bentley
3. Emma Benkert
2. Sydney Suntrup
Bow: Adelaide Moore

1st Varsity 4+
Coxswain: Gabriella Chelliah
4. Lisa-Marie Burckhardt
3. Delaney Gendron
2. Peyton Jewell
Bow: Gabi Smith
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