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HSU rowing strong in season opener at Sacramento State Invite

LAKE NATOMA – On a great Saturday racing day, Humboldt State saw its young rowing team have a strong season opener at the Sacramento State Invitational.

The Lumberjacks’ crew team bested its NCAA Division II competition of UC San Diego in the Varsity Eight and fell just shy of taking the other ranking race, Varsity Four.

“We had a good day overall. We were a bit disappointed with how the Novice 8 performed, but pleased with how we finished in the heat,” said HSU head coach Robin Meiggs. “First part of the day was perfect Humboldt weather, which afforded us a great deal of luxury.”

In the highlight event, the Jacks rowers hit their stride midway through the Varsity Eight race.

The HSU lineup – stroke seat eight Katie Lamke, seat seven Kayley Weber, seat six Maggie Wilhelm, seat four Ripley McChesney, seat three Sam Morford, seat two Kate Detrick, bow Mariah Smither and coxswain Katrina Rehrer – came together to outpace UC San Diego by almost nine seconds, 6:58.0 to 7:06.6, and missed beating Division I St. Mary’s (6:57.2) by less than a second.

“Varsity Eight event was put on center stage,” explained Meiggs. “The Varsity 8 had a really difficult start in a seven-boat race. Off the start, they were one or two strokes late, but made it up at 1,000-kilometer mark.”

In the other ranking race, the Tritons Varsity Four boat crossed the finish line three seconds ahead of the Jacks, 7:58.2 to 8:01.4.

“For the first Varsity Four, it was a great opportunity to get more race experience under our belt,” added the HSU coach. “The Second Varsity Eight I think that we didn’t stick to the race plan, which cost us.”

By not sticking to the race plan, the HSU Second Varsity Eight took fifth of the six-team field in 7:34.3 and 10 seconds back of UC San Diego.

The Jacks Novice group of rowers produce quality performances in their first collegiate competitions.

“In the Second Novice, we had two boats that performed exceptionally well today. They had really good composure and followed and executed the race plan in their first time racing,” pointed out Meiggs.

The young Jacks crew team will continue in the Sacramento area over the next few days for more Spring Break training.

“We have things to work on over the next few days top get some more speed out of everyone. From here we have a whole lot of training over the next six weeks that will determine how well we do,” said the Jacks leader. “The team has a lot of excitement and we look to build on it and light a fire under them for us to continue our training.”

HSU will have next weekend to continue working hard on the water, before hosting the annual Blue Heron Redwood Sprints Regatta at the Humboldt Bay Aquatic Center on Saturday March 29 starting at 8 a.m.