Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

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Bryan’s squad travels to Rockford

The University of Wisconsin women's crew team will compete in its first full-fledged test of the season Sunday, when the Badgers travel to Rockford, Ill., to participate in the Head of the Rock. Although the team raced in the Milwaukee River Challenge Sept. 17, only a few members of the team made the trip and rowed. Sunday, however, the bulk of the squad will make the trip, over 100 members in all.

"It's the first race of the season where the majority of the team is going. Milwaukee was a pretty small select group that was going. This one, some of our freshmen are going and it's their first race as Badgers," head coach Bebe Bryans said, adding that she considers it the first big test of the season for UW. "I always view the first big race of the year for how the team is going to race and how they are going to approach races the rest of the year."

The Head of the Rock, celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, is one of the largest crew competitions in the Midwest. More than 1,700 rowers and 400 boats are expected to participate in the 2.75-mile-long race, including some familiar faces for Wisconsin.

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"Minnesota should be there and they will be very, very good, as will Iowa. We don't take anybody for granted, but for sure our Big Ten rivals will provide a great test for us," Bryans said.

Last season, UW took first in six of the nine events that the team entered, and a clean sweep is the goal for Sunday.

"Every time we go to a race, we are going to win. That being said, obviously we have mainly been working on technique, so hopefully in a race all that technical work will hold up," Bryans said, who is also concerned about the team being able to keep up a steady pace for the entire race. "We are not looking for flying and dying, going out very hard and not being able to finish strong, because over long distance races that will become a factor."

With the Head of the Rock being such a busy and crowded competition, what the Badgers do outside of the boat and on land will be almost as important as the results achieved in the races, according to Bryans.

"Head races are always more challenging because there are so many more competitors and there are a lot of boats out there. It's fun to watch us try and navigate the mayhem," Bryans said. "I don't want to see chaos. Teaching them the teamwork and how to make things happen in an orderly fashion is key, so I want to see cooperation out there."

With the event being the first regatta experience for so many Badgers this year, the team is anxious to hit the water and build on successes of last season which included a lightweight eight national title.

"Both squads are very excited and upbeat about what is going on," Bryans said.

"We want them to go and have fun and go fast. We want them to feel good when they get out of the water."

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