WORCESTER, Mass. – Coast Guard closed out the season by winning the Silver medal in the Open 4+ event at the National Invitational Regatta Championship (NIRC).
Ithaca won with a time of 7:47.632, with Coast Guard back by 6 seconds and ahead of third-place crew Bates by more than 11 seconds. Mt. Holyoke, Clark, and St. Lawrence rounded out the rest of the field.
This race was a final-only event, as there were only six crews entered, and also the only race for the women of the day. Several members of the team had to leave before the end of the season to begin Coast Guard summer training, and therefore only had enough to enter a 4+. Comprised of all freshmen rowers and a junior coxswain, this squad had limited experience but a whole lot of heart, guts, determination and desire going into the event.
The Bears raced with composure and grit, maintaining a long, controlled stroke rate of 32 strokes per minute, and pushed hard on the competition. In the first 500 meters of the race, the Bears trailed Bates by a couple of seats, but they began to chip away at them in the body of the race, gaining a 2 seat lead by the 1000 and open water in the 3rd 500. Coast Guard also began inching into Ithaca's lead in the 3rd 500, making a strong move at a point in the race when fatigue sets in and adrenaline wanes, which can cause many teams to fall off their pace slightly. The Bears had a strong sprint, and finished the race with a faster second 1000 than the first.
"This was such a great outcome for Coast Guard, and a truly wonderful way to end the season for the women," said head coach Jodi Hope. "I am excited what these five women have brought to the program this year, as well as the others we had cheering from the shores and those we have out in the fleet already. It was a tough season from a team size standpoint, but the women persevered and found success along the way, capping it off with this silver-medal performance. I am extremely excited about what our returners will bring to the team next year, and the progress we can see in a year with these athletes."
The line-up included Stroke seat Marissa Marsh, a NEWMAC 2nd-team All-conference and NEWMAC All-Sportsmanship honoree, who stroked the Varsity 8+ all season and for many of the races in the fall; 3-seat Novice standout Kate Ashbey, who made remarkable changes from the fall to the spring; 2-seat Jordan Solseth, a powerful athlete who only began rowing this season; Elaine Weaver, another strong contributor from the Novice 8+ in the fall, and coxswain Victoria "Tory" Castleberry, who has led many crews to medals, including two from the fall, as well as a 6-place finish at the Head of the Charles.
4 - Marissa Marsh
3 - Kate Ashbey
2 - Jordan Solseth
1 - Elaine Weaver