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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Crew teams trek to 'Head of Iowa'

With the 2005 fall crew season underway, the UW men's and women's rowing teams are looking forward to a weekend of competition together at the 17th annual Head of the Iowa regatta in Iowa City, Iowa.

Wisconsin will be bringing more than a hundred participants to the race in which the men's and women's varsity, the women's lightweights, and novice rowers will all be competing. Women's head coach Bebe Bryans called it "one big Badger extravaganza."

Both teams have started strong this fall season, having competed against not only other collegiate teams, but also very skilled club teams, many made up of past collegiate rowers and even Olympians.

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The men's team and women's lightweight varsity team raced last weekend at the prestigious Head of the Charles regatta in Boston among fierce competition in cold and rainy weather conditions.

In the men's season-opening event, the team brought only two boats, one eight and one four. The Badgers placed 6th overall and 2nd behind Harvard, among the collegiate teams, in the Championship Four race. In the Championship Eight race, Wisconsin placed 9th overall and 4th among the collegiate competition.

Considering sophomores don't usually compete in such elite races this early in the season, Clark was particularly impressed with the performances of sophomores Derek Rasmussen in the four boat and Joe McMullin in the eight boat.

"Everybody rose to the occasion," men's head coach Chris Clark said.

The women's lightweight eight team placed 1st among collegiate teams — edging out Wisconsin's rival Princeton — and placed 3rd overall.

"I was very happy with the team's performance, especially for an early season race," varsity lightweight coach Mary Shofner said. "It is a testament to their work offseason with conditioning and their strength of stroke this early on."

Shofner has four seniors who were members of both the 2003 and 2004 lightweight eight national championship teams returning this year for the Badgers, including coxswain Erin Specht, Anaya Drew, Mary Higgins and Andrea Ryan.

"They're currently as fast as last year's team and on target to possibly be faster," Shofner said. "There's always room for improvement."

The last time the women's openweights competed was Oct. 9 at the Head of the Rock regatta. After a slow start to the day, Wisconsin's "A" boat recorded a big win over Big Ten rival Minnesota in the openweight eight. The Head of the Rock also marked the first opportunity for the novices to see action in a race this year.

"It was really exciting to watch," Bryans said. "They looked fabulous for this time in the season … a great addition to the team."

Based on the race setup at the Head of the Iowa, both the men's and women's teams plan on racing in many of the events, with most of the Badgers competing in multiple events. "We want to get as many people as we can to get good, quality racing," Clark said. "As much as we always want to win, this is more about getting everybody in the water and getting a chance to race."

The Wisconsin men will see their toughest competition on the water this weekend in Colorado and Minnesota. The women's openweight team expects a challenge from Big Ten rival Iowa.

"We're just going to race our brains out, we are our toughest critics," Bryans said.

The competition is more of a challenge for the lightweight team, considering most lightweights don't compete in these types of races in the fall, meaning the Badgers will be racing against mostly openweight boats.

The Head of the Iowa is the first opportunity for the men and women's teams to race at the same event this season.

"The new boathouse has really brought us together," Clark said. "It's the first time for everybody to see each other race … there are six separate teams, but each is part of a much bigger picture."

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