UMass rowing overcomes food poisoning and earns gold at Knecht Cup
The Massachusetts rowing team spent hours upon hours in training, checked the forecast for the weekend and spent time creating the best possible lineups; but they still encountered a one condition they had not prepared for: food poisoning.
“At least six of the women on the team got food poisoning before the event,” said UMass coach Jim Dietz, who also suffered from the illness. “We were all up in the middle of the night in really bad shape, but by the time they got to the finals this afternoon they had recovered pretty well and we did well.”
Despite the illness, the Minutewomen were still achieved three first-place finishes at the Knecht Cup in West Windsor, N.J., this weekend, earning gold in the varsity eight, varsity four and varsity pair.
“We did fabulous,” Dietz said. “This was a real major event for us in demonstrating our speed. Overall this is making things look extremely good for the Atlantic 10 championships. The team is moving along so well”
The duo of Candace Miller and Pippa Edwards earned their first of two gold medals of the day in the varsity pair race. Miller and Edwards finished the final with a time of 8:19.47, beating the Villanova pair by five seconds.
The Minutewomen earned their second gold medal on Sunday in the varsity four competition. The UMass V4 team of Abigail Raichek, Rachel Boudreau, Gabrielle Hayward, Kyla Miller and Sam Wonderlin finished the grand finale in first place with a time of 7:44.09. This was the narrowest margin of victory on the day; the Minutewomen finished 0.77 seconds ahead of Tulsa.
The Minutewomen ended the day on a high note as the V8 team finished in the grand finale with a time of 6:47.65, beating the 25 other schools in competition. The V8 team consisted of Heather Pekarovich, Taryn Wilson, Emily Mann, Marika Kopp, Edwards, Miller, Sam Kolovson, Lauren St. Pierre and Allanah Rubi-Mooney.
“For them to perform as well as they did still winning this event, I thought was just a tremendous effort” Dietz said. “Our varsity was last in the third level final last year and to turn around and win the event this year is really incredible. They really won this race convincingly.”
Unfortunately for the Minutewomen, the second varsity eight team struggled slightly as the 2V8 team finished first in the third final with a time of 7:06.10. That time was good for 13th out of 25 schools competing. The UMass 2V8 team was composed of Nicole Juul-Hindsgaul, Haley York, Teagan Rolf von den Baumen, Natalie Boisvert, Hadley Irvin, Krysten Menks, Hannah Monahan, Estefi Marti Malvido and Haley Eovine.
“They were a little off their game this weekend, but we think we can salvage that,” Dietz said.
UMass will return to action this weekend to take on Connecticut in Storrs, Conn., to face the on Friday. The Minutewomen will then travel to Boston to compete against Bates and M.I.T. before a day off on Easter Sunday.
Jamie Cushman can be reached at email@example.com.