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Lutes Keep Pace with Nation's Best at Opening Day Races

Lutes Keep Pace with Nation's Best at Opening Day Races

Contact: Mark Albanese, Director of Sports Communication

SEATTLE, Wash. - The seventh-ranked and three-time Northwest Conference Champion Pacific Lutheran University women's rowing team once again proved it can compete against some of the nation's top programs, competing at the Opening Day races on Saturday through the Montlake Cut.

"It was a beautiful day of racing up in Seattle for Opening Day. The 2V started us off racing against a UW boat that was pretty quick, which was to be expected. Washington is a phenomenal program and part of the reason we go up there is to test our mettle against the best," said Head Coach Andy Foltz.

"It's just great to experience the spectacle that is opening day. Its the only time really that rowers have the opportunity to race in a legitimate stadium-type event with fans lining the shore and in boats along the course. This is something that not a lot of rowers get to experience and it has the experience of a professional sporting event."

The Lutes second varsity eight opened the day with a runner-up finish in the women's collegiate open race, traversing the 2,000-meter course through the cut in seven minutes, 27.001 seconds. PLU enjoyed a massive 11-second gap on Division II Seattle Pacific University (7:38.639) and a 22-second buffer on Division I Seattle University. The second novice boat from defending Division I national champion University of Washington led wire-to-wire to win the race.

"The 2V came away with a great race and really put together a good piece. A little bummed with the conditions with a headwind so they didn't really get a true sense of their speed with their time but they were able to beat SPU and Seattle U and that was a big time race."

The Lutes 1V8+ competed in the Cascade Cup, finishing third in 7:11.028. The Lutes sat in second after 500 and 1,000-meters of race but was unable to fend off a late charge from the defending Division II national champions from Western Washington University as the Vikings clocked a 7:08.505 to finish behind Washington's 3V8+ (6:41.661).

"The varsity eight was something pretty special, regardless of the result. We got an invite to the Cascade Cup which is a prestigious event, we had a nice D1, D2, D3 showdown kind of like the 2V race however this time had great boats from national championship squads to race against and its really cool to see our women go head to head and push Western."

The Lutes look to punch their ticket to the NCAA Division III Championships for the third consecutive season and will learn their NCAA fate on Monday, May 14 at 4 p.m. when the field is announced. The 2018 Championships will be held in Sarasota, Florida and are set to begin on May 25.

"We've been working really hard sense conference in hopes that we'll get that NCAA bid out of the Pacific region and be prepared come nationals. The workouts have been really taxing this week so it's great to see the women step up and put together a great race."