NCAA rowing tournaments and many collegiate invitationals for both men and women take place in the late fall and spring. These competitions culminate in the Big Ten and NCAA championships which take place in the second half of May. Prior to these team competitions, top Badgers had the opportunity to compete with each other in national tournaments to earn individual accolades.
The Badgers were quite busy at these summer individual competitions.
For the men’s competitors, their trip to the USRowing National Championships proved to be extremely fruitful. Three Badger groups competed in the men’s intermediate competition for two-man boats. Rising juniors John Young and Adam Wehking took first place while rising sophomore Owen Lilleleht and rising junior Matthew Palmer took second. The third boat of Badgers was comprised of Palmer and rising sophomore Sam Wheeler who took sixth place in the championship.
Titles also came for the Badgers in the men’s elite two-man boat competition, as senior Kurt Mueller and junior Tyler Burnstein took first in that event.
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The men’s team also captured titles in the men’s elite eight-man boat final and in the intermediate bracket of that same competition. With these victories, the men’s team ended the USRowing national championships with a total of four national titles added to their record. On top of the national titles they brought back to Madison, they accomplished multiple podium finishes in the events mentioned above as well as many others.
Overall, the Badgers had an extremely successful summer when it came to individual competitions, and this success was not limited to just the men’s rowing program.
Isa Darvin, Elisabet Pietz, Elizabeth Clarke, Taylor Caudle and Charlotte Melcher all took part in multiple title wins throughout the six-day event which included victories in the intermediate two-person and four-person boat finals. Yet another notable finish for the Badgers was an eight-person boat comprised of all Badgers that took second place in the elite eight+ finals. Rowing for the Badgers in this boat were Caudle, Pietz, Melcher, Georgia Norton, Brandi Gueths, Adrienne Kisting, Jenna Hoffstatter and Mackenna Wilkie.
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The Badgers wrapped up an incredibly impressive offseason with stunning achievements at the USRowing national championships by bringing home multiple titles. With collegiate competition beginning later in the fall, look for the Badgers to make waves throughout the Big Ten and the nation with their clearly high levels of talent.
On top of competing for Wisconsin later this year, multiple Badger alumni earned the opportunity to compete for Team USA later this month in Austria at the 2019 World Rowing Championships.
Michael Knippen and Tristan Amberger, 2016 and 2018 graduates, respectively, will compete for the national team following their victory in the quadruple sculls final at this summer’s national championship tournament.
With quite some time left before both the men’s and women’s team compete in their first major tournament of the year, the Head of the Charles in Boston, Massachusetts, they will look to continue to build their repertoire of accomplishments and prepare for the collegiate season.
Furthermore, given the depth of experience demonstrated by the individual accomplishments of senior members of both the men’s and women’s rowing programs, the Badgers can be expected to build upon their success in collegiate national tournaments in previous years.
Earlier in 2019, the men’s team took 13th place in the Intercollegiate Rowing Association National Championships. This included impressive seed-surpassing performances from their three eight-man boats. With these unexpected finishes, the Badgers achieved an extremely impressive level of success.
Yet a new year brings new developments of talent, as well as growths in experience, and it is certainly reasonable to believe the Badgers, given their recent successes in individual competition, will come back stronger than ever.
The other rowing team competing in the IRA National Championships, the women’s lightweight team, was able to do significantly better than the men, as they took home an impressive third-place finish last season. This extreme success is what one would normally expect from a seasoned veteran team that has weathered harsh competition for quite some time. Surprisingly, the team was comprised almost entirely of freshmen and sophomores.
Rather excitingly, the team will continue to build upon its already-significant level of talent and — perhaps most importantly — experience over the next few months in preparation for collegiate play. If this summer served as any indication of what’s to come, the Badgers rowing program possesses a bright future.