April 29, 2005
The sixth Big Ten Rowing Championship is set for this Saturday on Lake Lemon at Riddle Point Park and is being hosted by Indiana University. The morning heats are scheduled to start at 8:15 a.m. with the finals scheduled to start at 12:15 p.m.
The University of Michigan has dominated the event, winning four of the first five championships including the last two. Ohio State is the only other school to have won the Championship, having done so in 2003. Here's a quick look at the participants in this year's championship.
Indiana is having one of its best seasons in the short history of its program. The I Varsity Eight boat leapt out to a 7-0 start this spring and is currently a 8-5 overall. The Hoosiers also earned their first boat of the week citation when the I Varsity Eight took that award on Mar. 22. Even with that success, the host Hoosiers' top boat coming into the Big Ten Championships is the II Varsity Eight, which is the No. 5 seed entering Saturday's regatta. The IIV8 defeated Minnesota in a dual meet in Columbus two weeks ago in its final tune-up entering the Big Ten meet.
Other top performances from Indiana boats include the I Varsity Four posting a win against Georgetown in late March. The IV8 boat also posted a win against Clemson on Mar. 19.
The Hawkeyes enter the Big Ten Championships with a I Varsity Eight shell that's ranked No. 20 in the nation currently, but No. 6 in the Big Ten seeding showing the competitive depth of the Conference. Iowa's last two meets have both been against Big Ten Competition with a meet against Michigan and Michigan State two weeks ago which saw the No. 2 Wolverines only edge the Hawkeyes' top boat by 2.2 seconds.
Iowa's top performance of the spring came at the Longhorn Invitational with five wins at the regatta including separate I Varsity Eight wins over Texas and Kansas State and a II Varsity Eight win over Kansas State as well.
The Wolverines come into the Big Tens with two top-seeded shells, the II Varsity Four and the I Varsity Eight. The IV8 is undefeated this spring with a 7-0 mark on the water, including wins over Iowa, Michigan State, Ohio State, and Wisconsin to date, and is ranked No. 3 nationally. No Michigan boat is seeded lower than fourth entering this weekend's races.
Michigan will be hoping to repeat on its success of last hear, although not in quite as dramatic a way. At Iowa in 2004, Michigan found itself in the middle of the pack in the team standings entering the final two races, but swept the I and II Varsity Eights to claim its second straight Big Ten Championship and fourth in the past five years.
Michigan State brings its No. 7 nationally ranked I Varsity Eight boat to the Championship this weekend, and is seeded third in that race. State's top seeded boat in the meet is its I Novice Eight which is the top seeded shell in its event.
The Spartans come into the regatta with a good deal of confidence after its meet with Michigan, Iowa, and Wisconsin two weeks ago. MSU picked up seven first-place finishes in that event, with its I and II Novice Eight boats sweeping their races against the field. The I Varsity Four and II Varsity Eight boats also picked up wins over Michigan and Wisconsin, respectively.
The Golden Gophers top shells might be their younger ones, with the second-seeded I and II Novice Eight boats, but there is still talent at the top with the I Varsity Eight boat ranked No. 15 nationally.
Minnesota comes into the weekend with some momentum after picking up IV8 wins over UCLA and SMU last weekend, which earned the Gophers their second Boat of the Week honors of the season. The IV8 also has first place finishes against Iowa, Indiana, and Louisville this spring.
Ohio State will definitely contend for the team championship with two top-seeded boats (IIV8 and IIN8) as well as the second-seeded (and No. 4 nationally ranked) I Varsity Eight crew. The two Buckeye Varsity Eight shells are a combined 5-1 against Big Ten competition this spring, including a perfect 3-0 mark by the II Varsity Eight.
The Buckeyes IV8 is 5-1 this season against ranked opponents. Ohio State beat Virginia and Duke on Mar. 26. The Buckeyes also downed Brown and Michigan State and USC at home. The only loss of the season was against Michigan on Apr. 2.
Wisconsin should provide some competition for the team title this year and hopes to become only the third school to win a Big Ten Championship after Michigan and Ohio State. The Badgers have the top seeded I Varsity Four in the 2005 Championship and the No. 2 seed in both the II Varsity Eight and II Varsity Four. Wisconsin's IV8 is only seeded fourth, but is ranked No. 14 nationally.
In the team's most recent competition - a meet against Michigan and Michigan State - the II Varsity Eight and I Varsity Four swept the competition. The I Varsity Eight was beat by both schools, but was within three seconds of the No. 2 ranked Wolverines in their race.