Big Ten Rowing Season in Review
June 18, 2007
Big Ten Champion Minnesota and Ohio State finished in the top six at the 2007 NCAA Division I Women's Rowing Championships, held May 25-27, at Melton Hill Lake in Oak Ridge, Tenn. The Buckeyes placed a program-best third overall, while the conference champions took sixth, highlighted by a national title in the Second Varsity Eight. The Gophers' winning boat marked just the second time in Big Ten history a conference crew has captured a national championship. Michigan won the first in the same division during the 2001 NCAA Championships.
Ohio State's eighth-consecutive NCAA Championships appearance and ninth overall was truly its most memorable. The Buckeyes finished with 52 points overall, just two points behind second-place Virginia and six shy of national champion Brown. OSU sealed its first-ever Top 3 result by taking second in the Grand Final of the First Varsity Eight, which set a team record for the highest finish of any Buckeye boat.
For Minnesota, the 2007 season marked the first time the Golden Gophers participated as a team at the championships, compiling 47 total points from all three boats -- the First Varsity Eight, Second Varsity Eight and the Varsity Four. The Gophers' Second Varsity Eight became national champions in the Grand Final after a three-second victory over runner-up California. The Gopher boat of Kaja Tally, Mary Ann Weinzierl, Christine O'Donnell, Maggie Armstrong, Catherine Casey, Ashlee Vilmo, Heidi Bechtel, Sarah Graham and Katie Johnson at the bow clocked in at 6:56.39 to Cal's time of 6:59.15. Under head coach Wendy Davis, the Gophers won the 2007 Big Ten Championship in April in Madison, Wis. Following the conference championship, Davis was named the Big Ten Coach of the Year for the second straight season, while Jennifer Barnes was named the Big Ten Athlete of the Year.
Four Big Ten student-athletes were named 2007 CRCA Pocock All-Americans, including first-team selections Jennifer Barnes of Minnesota and Ohio State's Gabriele Albertaviciute and Annabelle Fago. Michigan State's Roz Bialczak was named to the second team. Minnesota's Davis was also named the 2007 Central Region Coach of the Year.
In the classroom, 103 Big Ten student-athletes were named Academic All-Conference, while Michigan State's Kate Burdick was named an ESPN the Magazine Academic All-America first-team selection.