The Eastern Michigan University women’s rowing team fell short in New York when it took on the University of New York at Buffalo Bulls and the Boston University Terriers Saturday for the Harvey Cup on Tonawanda Creek.
The annual race is in memory of former UB Associate Director and Senior Woman Administrator Nan Harvey. After three years of battling cancer, Harvey died in September 2003.
The Eagles have participated in the race every year since its origin, but the Bulls walked away with the cup for the eighth straight year after winning the varsity 8 race by almost 10 seconds.
The EMU varsity boat was led by junior coxswain Sarah Hillegonds, freshman Ashley Gilmore, sophomores Emily Kent and Lyndsey Tollas, redshirt sophomore Stacy Cloutier, juniors Taylor Cyr and K.C. Anderson and seniors Rachel Morrissey and Lauren Foley.
While EMU lost the race this year, the team’s time drastically improved from 7:32.40 last season to 7:00 this year. The Bulls pulled a six minute, 49.4 seconds this season compared to 6:56.79 in 2012.
“Obviously, you go race with the intention and hope of winning, so when that doesn’t happen, it’s pretty disappointing,” Anderson said. “That being said, it was the first time we’ve broken seven minutes, and we’re really proud of that.”
The EMU crew didn’t win their V8 race against Boston, but they were about five seconds faster than the seven-minute mark.
“We may have come up short, but I think that, that race is the greatest thing that could happen to us,” Gilmore said. “We know that we can compete with the best in our conference.”
The second varsity boat, which was coxed by EMU junior Cady Griffin, marked 7:14.81 against Boston and 7:20.33 against Buffalo.
EMU freshman LeAnn Dimitroff said adding in the factor that the team had limited time to practice on the water during the week, she felt the team put in its best effort.
“Overall, we had a great weekend of racing. We may not be winning races but our team has improved every regatta we compete in,” Dimitroff said.
Racing the 2V8 were seniors Hannah Kenner, Amanda Fross, Becky Dudus, redshirt senior Dayna Bergman, sophomores Tijana Milovanovic and Kaitlin Keys and freshmen Krista Burdick and Dimitroff.
“Our team is moving in the right direction,” Fross said. “Our times improved dramatically and our boats had great races all around.”
The Eagles boat closest to a win was the novice 8 . The boat consisted of freshman coxswain Tauan Jeffrey, freshman rowers Meghan Knox, Emily Burks, Stephanie Schlosser, Becca Sear, Stephanie Beck, Danielle Keen, Liz Caudill and redshirt sophomore Tara Sholtz. The crew pulled a 7:57.9 compared to Buffalo’s 7:51.3.
“We’ve done all of the hard work and now we’re finally starting to gain the confidence to go out and win,” Fross said. “This is an exciting time for our program.”
The Eagles will travel north to Spring Lake, Mich., Saturday to compete in the Lubbers Cup. EMU will compete against crews from schools such as the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana, Grand Valley State University, the University of Michigan, Michigan State University, Ohio State University and the University of Kansas.
“The other teams better watch out, because Eastern is only going to get faster from here,” Gilmore said.