Written by Student Assistant Sarah Cornell-Maier
LAKEWOOD, Wash. – The Pacific Lutheran University women's rowing team showed yet again why they are ranked seventh in the nation as they blew the other boats out of the water during the Logger Invitational on Saturday at American Lake.
The Lutes' varsity eight boat came out victorious in their first race with two strong sub-seven minute times, hitting a time of six minutes, 52.3 seconds in their first race, beating out NWC competitor Lewis & Clark College (7:01.7) by over nine seconds. In their second race of the day, the Lutes came out of the race with a 42.6-second victory over Mills College, earning a 6:53.7 time.
"I think the key to our success in the 1V today was our ability to race each race as if it was the only one and trust that the training and work we had put in would get us to the finish in front," said first-year Molly Mastrorilli.
The second varsity eight boat had an equally successful day, besting Lewis & Clark with a 7:21.5 time, only 4.7 seconds ahead of the Pioneers. In their second race of the day, the Lutes came out with a stunning 48.6-second victory over Mills, crossing the finish line with a 7:28.9.
"(Head Coach) Andy Foltz has certainly been working us hard and coming out of spring break we were beginning to see what we are capable of, which was really exciting!" said Mastrorilli. "On top of that we have learned to put a lot of faith in each other and believe that no matter what, we are all working towards the same goal."
Both the varsity four boat and the novice four boat had incredibly competitive days, with all of their times remaining under the nine-minute mark. In the first novice four race, the Lutes came in less than 10 seconds behind rival University of Puget Sound with a time of 8:27.1. The second novice four race produced a 8:57.5 time for the Lutes, getting them a second-place finish behind the UPS boat.
In the varsity four boat, the Lutes started the day coming in second behind UPS with a time of 8:54.1. In their second race of the day, the Lutes crossed the line with the fastest time of any of the PLU fours, with a blazing 8:20.5.
"I thought our four's did an excellent job today handling the conditions as well as improving from race to race," said Head Coach Andy Foltz. "We certainly still have more speed to gain in all boats and are looking forward to seeing the lineups gel together a bit more since we haven't spent much time in them yet."
The Lutes are preparing for yet another big day of racing as they look to take on rival boats from the University of Puget Sound for the annual Meyer-Lamberth Cup on Sunday. This day of racing has been a tradition for the schools for 40 years, with both the men and women's teams competing.
"The racing tomorrow will be something special and incredibly tough," said Foltz. "We treat this as though it is just like the grand finals of the NCAA Championships - race a couple times the day before and have to perform well in the grand final to determine the Champ - this is the race tomorrow for bragging rights at the boathouse."
Before the racing in the morning, the Lutes will be conducting a dedication ceremony for their new 8+ racing shell, the procurement of which was made possible by generous donations from alumni and family members of team members, as well as various members of the PLU community.
The boat is named the "Spirit of '02" in recognition of the women's team from 2002, the first group from PLU to go to the NCAA Championships. Members from that team will be in attendance, and will be helping to perform the dedication ceremony alongside the varsity and second varsity boats.
Sunday's competition will begin with the boat dedication at 8 a.m., with the first race of the Meyer-Lamberth Cup starting at 9 a.m. on American Lake.