UMass tuning up for A-10

By Jeffrey Engmann, Collegian Correspondant

Massachusetts crew coach Jim Dietz described last weekend’s Knecht Cup race in Camden, N.J., as a dress rehearsal for the upcoming Atlantic 10 Championship. The Minutewomen, however, did not compete like it was simply a walk-through.

Under less than desirable conditions, the Minutewomen turned in one of their grittiest performances of the season as the women’s varsity-8 finished third overall in the petite final, which took place on Saturday. The second varsity-8 finished fifth in the grand final in spite of the rainy conditions on both days.

The Minutewomen’s effort left Dietz with the impression that his team will be ready when its time for the big stage.

I think it was a pretty strong effort. The goal was to race as hard as we can as many times as we can,’ Dietz said. ‘Fatigue started to set in through the second day, but overall the depth of the squad looked really good.’

Depth is something that will be crucial next weekend when the team tries to capture its 13th A-10 title. Dietz plans to have a crew in every race.

In an event in which more than 50 schools competed, Dietz used the race a way to get his entire team some quality experience.

‘The season is so short that you have to get out and experiment,’ said Dietz ‘[Over the weekend], most of the varsity people raced four times. Everyone got at least three races in. We got out there and were pushing hard throughout the weekend.’

The most dominant performance came from the Minutewomen varsity quad, who finished in first place. The team finished with a time of 8:40.8 ‘- a sizable 39.7 seconds ahead of the second-place finishers, the Villanova University.

The quad is lead by two seniors Samantha Smith and Airlina Burrill, and features sophomore Teresa O’Brien and Julia Richter. Dietz had high praise for members of that quad.

‘The people in the first quad have so much skill it was not surprising at all,’ Dietz said.

The Minutewomen will try to capture their 13th conference championship next weekend in Camden, N.J.

Jeffrey Engmann can be reached a [email protected]