Written by Student Assistant Sarah Cornell-Maier
LAKEWOOD, Wash. – The Pacific Lutheran University women's rowing team opened up their spring slate with a strong effort at the PLU Invitational on Saturday at American Lake.
Racing against Division I Seattle University, and Division II Seattle Pacific University and Western Washington University, the Lutes knew that they had to push themselves hard if they wanted to compete against the star-studded field.
"For this race we bring in a lot of crews that will be challenging for us," said Head Coach Andy Foltz. "I think today showed us some good things as well as some things we definitely need to work on."
The Lutes had two different races- one earlier in the morning against Seattle U and one later against WWU. The Lutes raced three different boats and garnered one victory across the six races.
The varsity 8+ opened the day with a first place time of seven minutes, 22.5 seconds, owning a 17-second gap on Division I Seattle U.
"We started out strong in our first race," said senior Sydney Otey. "It felt really connected and powerful, which was awesome to feel so early in the season."
The varsity 8+ stumbled a little bit in their second race of the day, clocking a second-place finish with a time of 7:24.2.
In the 2V 8+ boat, the Lutes recorded a second-place time of 7:53.9, coming in 10 seconds behind Seattle Pacific, before recording another second-place time of 8:01.0, coming in 45 seconds short of first-place WWU. The 3V 8+ boat recorded two second-place times of 8:27.3 and 8:04.6 behind SU and WWU.
"If you go through the boats, a majority of the people are new rowers," said junior Jessica Christensen. "While the fact that we're a brand-new team definitely shows, there's still something there that we can build on."
This is a true statement- with novice rowers in each boat, the team is full of new faces. The only race experience the new Lutes had before Saturday was a 6,000-meter race in the fall, so this was the first chance for the first-year rowers to experience a real 2,000-meter race on the water.
"We're not where we want to be with our speed," said Foltz. "So this is a really good wakeup call in a sense of where we go from here."
The Lutes will have their chance to show that they are ready for Northwest Conference competition next weekend as they head down to Oregon to compete at the Hagg Lake Invitational, at which both Pacific University and Lewis & Clark College will also be competing.