UST rowing team captures gold
From the rowing team
The University of St. Thomas rowing team traveled to Philadelphia last weekend to attend the Dad Vail Regatta, the largest collegiate regatta in the world. A total of 118 varsity and club-level programs competed.
The duo of Eve Commerford and Heather Maenke rowed to a first-place finish over 26 other colleges in the women’s pair event. This represents the first-ever gold medal for the rowing team in its 42-year history and only the second medal of any kind for the varsity women. The first medal came just last year when Maenke paired up with then freshmen Andrea Peterson for the silver medal. Maenke graduates this year as the most decorated female rower in the history of the team.
In other events, both the men’s varsity and freshmen fours advanced past the opening round into the semifinals. Both crews performed with solid speed in that round but were unable to finish in either of the two top spots to qualify for the six-boat final. Ultimately, the team placed in the top 18 of both events, which included 54 colleges and universities.
On the women’s side, both the novice and varsity fours finished in fifth place in their heats, falling short of the top-two finish needed to advance.
This event was the final race of the season for the team, which will return to the river in the fall. With the recent growth of the program, the team now will begin preparations for participating in college racing’s premier event: the varsity eight. This is a significant step forward for a program that has had major successes only in the pairs and fours events to date.
“To be competitive in the eights events will demand more of the program and the students,” head coach Patrick Johnson said, “but everyone involved is fully prepared for the upcoming challenges. All of the major programs in the country are already focused on this event, and it is an achievement in itself that we are finally able to compete at that level.”