2006 Big Ten Women's Rowing Championships Preview

April 27, 2006

The University of Minnesota will play host to the 2006 Big Ten Women's Rowing Championships on Saturday, April 29, 2006 at Lake Phelan. This year's championships looks to be another strong one with some of the top squads in the country competing. Five Big Ten schools are ranked in the most recent national poll, led by Ohio State (5th). Also ranked are Michigan State (6th), Michigan (8th), Minnesota (17th) and Wisconsin (18th).

Last season's regatta came down to one point to decide first place, with Michigan State edging Ohio State for the team title. Here's a quick look at the competitors in this year's championships.

Still a relative newcomer to the sport, Indiana has continued to improve this year. The Hosoiers' top boat in this year's championships is the I Novice Eight, which is seeded third in its event. The third seed for the IN8 is the best ever for an Indiana boat at the Big Ten Championships. Indiana's top meet this season came on April 1 against Dayton, Cincinnati and Eastern Michigan where the Hoosiers swept the field in the I Varsity Eight. IU will be looking to improve on its sixth place finish from a year ago.

The Hawkeyes enter the regatta led by the II Novice Eight boat which will be the No. 4 seed in that event. This season, Iowa has faced some of the strongest competition in the country, and has fallen just a bit short. Two weeks ago however, the IIN8 did post wins over both Michigan and Wisconsin at Madison. The Hawkeyes are hoping to better their seventh place team finish from 2005.

The Wolverines will be seeking their fifth team title at the 2006 Big Ten Championships. Michigan enters the meet ranked eighth nationally and led by its I Varsity Eight boat, which is the second seed in the event. Two weeks ago the IV8 swept Iowa and Wisconsin in head-to-head competition. The IV8 also has a win over Michigan State earlier in the season.

Michigan State
The defending champions will hope to make it back-to-back titles this year after edging Ohio State for the school's first ever championship in 2005. Michigan State enters the meet with a No. 6 national ranking and is seeded first or second in the top four points-earning races in this year's championships (IV8, IIV8, IV4, and IN8). Against the field this season, the Spartans have IV8 wins against Wisconsin, Indiana, and Iowa, with narrow losses to Michigan and Ohio State.

The host institution for this year's championships, the Gophers enter the regatta with a No. 17 national ranking. Minnesota's top seeded boats are the I Varsity Four and the II Novice Eight, which are each the No. 2 seed, while the II Varsity Eight will be the No. 3 seed. The Golden Gophers did post IV8 wins over UCLA, Notre Dame and Tennesse earlier this season. Against Big Ten competition, the same boat does have a win against Indiana, but fell to Ohio State. The Gophers hope to improve on last year's fifth place finish.

Ohio State
The Buckeyes enter the 2006 Championships with the top national ranking amongst Big Ten squads at No. 6. Ohio State does have the top seed in both the I Varsity Eight and II Varsity Eight races, and is undefeated against the field this season in the both events this year. The IV8 also has wins against Virginia, Duke, Tennessee, and Oregon State this spring. Ohio State is the only other institution besides Michigan and Michigan state to win a Big Ten Rowing Championship (2002), and is hoping to make up for its second place finish in 2005 where the Buckeyes were just one point short of first place in the final standings.

The Badgers bring a young, talented squad to the 2006 Championships. Wisconsin boasts the top seed in the I Novice Eight, II Novice Eight, and II Varsity Four races. While those events might not account for enough points to take an overall title, it shows a solid nucleus for the future of the Badgers' program. In Wisconsin's last meet - the Indiana Crew Classic ¬- UW swept the IN8, IIN8, IV4, and IIV4 races. Wisconsin also posted a win against Indiana in the IV8 race, after being edged by Notre Dame in an earlier race.