Written by Student Assistant Sarah Cornell-Maier
LAKEWOOD, Wash. – The Pacific Lutheran University women's rowing team brought home the Lamberth Cup for the second consecutive season and the 25th time in team history on Sunday, besting crosstown rival University of Puget Sound
Coming off a Saturday full of hard racing, the Lutes had to push through their fatigue to put out strong performances on the water. Each boat raced twice on Saturday, and then turned around to race again on Sunday.
In the Varsity eight boat, the Lutes pulled out ahead of the Loggers early to secure another sub-7 minute time, crossing the finish line at 6:59.7 and enjoying an 11-second gap on UPS to secure the trophy.
"I think it says a lot about our mindset and fitness that we can race three times in a weekend and all three times are under seven minutes. It was hard, but we just thought of each race as its own thing and not trying to conserve for anything," said senior Sydney Otey.
Sunday marked the last regular season race for the Lutes at American Lake before Northwest Conference Championships, making it Senior Day for the Lutes. Otey was honored after the race for her contributions to them team. She was a member of last season's NWC Championship and NCAA fourth place finishing team along with earning the Elite 90 award for having the highest grade point average at last year's NCAA Championships.
"I'm kind of sad that this was my last Lamberth Cup as a team member, but hopefully I'll come back for some alumnae racing!" said Otey. "It was really cool to continue the momentum that started last year by winning Lamberth Cup and show that we really are going to continue this trend, and I'm excited to see what the team continues to do after this year."
In the second varsity eight, the Lutes fought hard against the UPS boat, ultimately coming in six seconds behind the Loggers with a 7:25.6.
"Today was certainly a learning day for our team," said Head Coach Andy Foltz. "Today we came out on the short end of that stick but I know watching that race we've got more speed in there - that's a tough 2V group and they are getting faster and faster each race."
The four boats for the Lutes both raced against the Loggers in the morning, coming in third and fourth behind the two UPS boats, with the Lutes top boat crossing the line at 8:23.9, and the second boat crossing the line at 9:00.4.
The Lutes started their day with a dedication ceremony for their new shell, the "Spirit of '02". After words from Foltz, as well as some from members of the 2002 women's team, the alumnae poured sparkling cider over the bow of the shell, while members of the 1V and 2V boats poured water from the Lutes finish line across the bow.
"We are so incredibly thankful for every gift that comes into PLU women's crew, the donations last a lifetime in the memories of the current students on the team," said Foltz. "I'll never forget the day we opened up the newly wrapped boat to rig it for the first time."
The Lutes will have Easter weekend off before heading back to American Lake for the Northwest Conference Championships on April 23rd.
"I think conference will be a good chance to race all of our opponents at once and really see what happens," said Otey. "We have such a young team that we see really big improvements from race to race, and I'm really excited to see how we get faster each time."
"As we look now to our two weeks before we host Conference Championships the plans at this point is to make sure we've got the right people in the right boats as well as try to build some synergy in the lineups," said Foltz. "So much of rowing is being able to roll and bend with your crew. That takes time to develop and time for a boat to truly find their identity. We really try to develop our student-athletes to be racers in the truest sense of the word and that'll continue to be our focus as we move into our Championship part of the season."