March 7, 2009
WEST SACRAMENTO, Calif. -
The UC Davis women's rowing team, coming off an impressive first season at the NCAA Division I level in 2008, will look to continue growing as a program when it begins its spring season on Sunday with the annual Davis Invitational Rowing Tournament.
The DIRT races will be held at the Port of Sacramento in West Sacramento beginning with the varsity eight at 8 a.m. Second varsity eight (8:45), novice eight (9:15), varsity four (9:45) and novice four (10:30 a.m.) races will follow. Santa Clara and Sonoma State and Cal Maritime will also join UC Davis.
The Aggies enjoyed a memorable inaugural Div. I season last year with its varsity eight boat winning championships at the San Diego Crew Classic and Dad Vail Regatta, and the entire program claiming the team title at the Western Intercollegiate Rowing Association Championships.
UC Davis will look to youth in its varsity eight boat to start this season with one junior, five sophomores and two freshmen comprising the lineup.
"I feel it's going to be tough to beat our results from our first year as a Division I rowing program, especially after losing so many seniors," said head coach Carissa Adams. "My expectations are to have the varsity eight boat win as many races as it can to continue with the success we have seen over the past years, even with a very young squad."
The varsity eight on Sunday is scheduled to have Tara Davis at cox, Brittani De Riemer at stroke, Lauren Auble at seven, Darcy Ward at six, Hannah Owens at five, Elieke Demmer at four, Paige Kendall at two and Lorena Cortes at bow. Davis returns to the cox position while DeRiemer, Auble and Huey were each members of the second varsity eight's gold medal boat at the WIRA Championships.
"The keys are going to be to get these young women to learn how to row well together and to gain a sense of confidence on the water," said Adams. "They will also need to become more consistent on a daily basis."
Adams was pleased with the progress the team made as it entered preparations for the spring.
"Coming back from winter break this group actually looked like they were rowing with more stability than our super senior boat last year," she said. "I think they have moments when they really shine. We need to make those moment more consistent and last longer."
With Davis the lone returnee to the varsity eight, Adams is looking to her leadership noting "she understands the amount of work and dedication it takes to win races."
UC Davis also helped highlight it season last year with a second consecutive victory over rival Sacramento State in the Jean Runyon Cup. It was a day in which the Aggie rowing program won four of five races, including victories in the second varsity eight, novice eight and novice four matchups.
Adams said the varsity eight's success can be directly attributed to rowers throughout the program.
"Everyone is the key to the varsity eight success," she said. "We teach every athlete on this squad that no matter what boat they are in they are important to the success of this program. We need everyone to continually push each other on a daily basis. Without this we wouldn't, and couldn't, have a varsity eight."
The schedule will once again be a challenging one for UC Davis. Besides the season-opening races on Sunday, the Aggies will also host duals on March 29 against San Diego State and on April 11 against Cal. The Golden Bears' varsity eight finished fourth at last year's NCAA Division I Championships while its team was third.
UC Davis will travel to the San Diego Crew Classic in April and move up a division, will take on Sacramento State at Lake Natoma later in the month, and then return to the site in May for the WIRA, Pacific Coast Rowing Conference and Pac-10 Championships.
"I am really looking forward to watching this team develop throughout the season," said Adams. "We have made a lot of improvements since we started in October and I am sure we will continue with this trend."