May 1, 2004
SOLON, Iowa - The University of Michigan defended its Big Ten Women's Rowing Championship title and won its fourth team championship in the five-year history of the event with a dramatic win in the final race of the day.
Michigan's I Varsity Eight boat won the I Varsity Eight Grand Final in an upset over the nation's top-ranked boat, Ohio State. The Wolverines took the lead of the race from the Buckeyes near the 1000m mark of the race and held a half-boat lead for the majority of the remainder of the race. Wisconsin edged past Michigan State for third in the event, while Minnesota won the Petite Final.
The I Varsity Eight final, the final one of the day, gave Michigan the overall championship, after entering the event in third place in the team standings. Wisconsin took second place overall with 115 points, just ahead of Ohio State (112) and Michigan State (111).
Wisconsin started the afternoon finals with a come-from-behind half-second win over Minnesota in the II Novice Eight Grand Final, posting a 7:10.5 finish. Minnesota led for most of the first half of the race before Wisconsin drew into a tie with the Gophers, with the two crews staying within a few feet of each other right to the finish.
Minnesota dominated the I Novice Eight Grand Final, leading by more than a boat length for much of the race and finishing with an 8.8 second advantage. Michigan State and Wisconsin battled for the second place spot, with the Spartans prevailing by just under a second. Ohio State took the I Novice Eight Petite Final with a time of 7:21.6.
Michigan State pulled away over the final 1000 meters of the II Varsity Four Grand Final to post its first win of the finals with a final time of 7:42.3. Michigan took second place in the race, while Wisconsin edged Minnesota for third place at the finish. Ohio State took the win in the II Varsity Four Petite Final.
In the I Varsity Four Grand Final, three boats stayed within a boat's length of each other for most of the course, before Ohio State edged the field to win the race, half a boat ahead of Wisconsin. Michigan State took third in the event. In the Petite Final of the I Varsity Four, Minnesota ran away with the race, wining by 20 seconds.
Entering the two Varsity Eight races, Wisconsin held a one-point lead in the team standings with 40 points. Michigan State held second with 39 points, just ahead of Ohio State (34 pts.) and Minnesota (33 pts.).
Michigan State led much of the II Varsity Eight Grand Final, but a strong late challenge from Michigan gave the Wolverines a win in the race by 1.1 seconds. Wisconsin took third place in the event, while Ohio State finished fourth. Minnesota won the Petite Final of the II Varsity Eight. Michigan State's finish propelled it into the team lead in the standings entering the final race, with Michigan making a charge from fifth to third place.
Weather conditions were good for the afternoon races on Lake Macbride, with a morning wind of approximately 11 mph calming down to a light, almost imperceptible breeze for the final races and sunny conditions.