Texas Rowing starts season off right with dominant performance in Ann Arbor

Riley Glenn

The women on the Longhorn rowing team have been eagerly waiting for a chance to get back on the water since their season was canceled last spring. On Saturday morning, they seemed to channel that frustration into positive results.

No. 2 Texas Rowing defeated No. 7 Michigan, winning all four races against the overmatched Wolverines in the Longhorns’ first race of the season.

Traveling to Ann Arbor to face a highly ranked, talented Wolverine team, was a massive test for the No. 2 ranked Longhorns this early in the season. However, they were able to pass with flying colors.

Head coach Dave O’Neill was impressed with his team’s performance, given the rust factor of not competing for a decent period of time. The Longhorns haven’t raced outside of practice and scrimmages since June 2019, where they finished in an impressive second place at the NCAA championship.

“It was great to be back in full race mode this morning, and I’m really impressed with the performance of all boats,” O’Neill said in a press release.

The weather in Ann Arbor was ideal despite some winds picking up at 3-6 mph on the back 1000m, as the temperature was in the low 70’s.

The first varsity eight, led by coxswain Olivia Fogarty, as well as Kaitlin Knifton, Alexandra Watson, Aspa Christodoulidis, Daisy Mazzio-Manson, Francesca Raggi, Susanna Temming, Katelyn Bouthillette and Lisa Gutfleisch, defeated Michigan with a time of 6:25.5 compared to the Wolverines’ time of 6:34.52. The boat consisted of all upperclassmen, demonstrating their experience and collectivism as a group.

This group has their aspirations set high for this season, and this performance showcased all their hard work paying off. They were able to take the lead within the first 500m, and only distanced themselves further throughout the race.

The second varsity eight, led by coxswain Elizabeth Romero, as well as Hannah Medcalf, Amber Harwood, Anna Jensen, Izabela Krakic, Parker Illingworth, Samantha Schalk, Alexa McAuliffe and Maria Valencia, outpaced Michigan with the time 6:28.6 compared to Michigan’s 6:44.12. This boat particularly impressed head coach Dave O’Neill, as their performance was promising given their youth.

“Our second in particular stood out for what they did,” O’Neill said. “There are seven freshman or redshirt freshmen in the boat, and they grew up a lot today. We have a lot of work to do over the next six weeks, but today was certainly a good day.”

The first varsity four, led by coxswain Rachel Rane, along with Jane McGee, Emily Courtois, Cassandre Korvink-Kucinski and Marlowe Eldridge, clocked in at a time of 7:27.49, defeated Michigan’s time of 7:46.73.

The second varsity four, led by coxswain Grace Goodell, as well as Rachel Craycroft, Claudia Destefani, Kathia Nitsch and Mick Jonkers, completed the sweep with a time of 7.30.78, in comparison to Michigan and Michigan(3v4) finishing with times of 7:37.51, and 8:11.16, respectively.

“Michigan is always one of the best programs in the country, so we have to be happy with the results,” O’Neill said.

The next time the Longhorns will be on the water is on April 24, where they will compete at the 20th Longhorn Invitational on Walter E. Long Lake, facing off against No. 13 SMU, Alabama, Notre Dame, Oklahoma and the University of Central Oklahoma.