PRINCETON, N.J. — Led by a varsity eight which "rose to the occasion," Columbia women's rowing concluded its fall campaign in the Princeton Chase, a traditional "head race" on Lake Carnegie.
   
Columbia's A eight was one of nine boats to represent the Lions, and although it didn't finish the highest — a two repeated as Princeton Chase champions — it earned much of the coach's praise.
   
"They really did a good job," head coach Melanie Onufrieff said of the eight, which covered the 2.75-mile course in 16:00.083 to place 21st of 45. "They rose to the occasion. They rowed a good piece, and represented themselves well."
   
The two novice eights finished third and 14th, in times of 16:49.368 and 18:47.589. The novice A boat ran into that most annoying feature of fall racing, fallen leaves. No, they didn't slip on them, as cross-country runners have been known to do, but had to clear a wad of leaves which became stuck in the shell's rudder.
   
Strangely, the leaves spurred the Lions to a better race.
   
"They were rowing a decent piece," Onufrieff said, "but at the big turn in the race, they ran into these leaves." The boat had to pause while coxswain Gabrielle Barilla tried to clear them. "She cleared them," the coach said, "and when we began rowing again, the stress seemed to get us going. We rowed the second half of the race better than the first."
   
Columbia also entered three fours and a pair of twos, the latter featuring a repeat victory by junior McKenzie Largay and sophomore Samantha "Sam" Warren. They were timed in 17:34.711.
   
The Chase presaged a long winter of training in order to prepare for the spring season. Although the coach noted that her team has "a lot of work ahead," she was buoyed by the knowledge that "we're starting to bring things to the team, to make it the team we want to be in the spring."
   
The results:

The Princeton Chase (2.75 mile head races)
Sunday, October 31, 2010
Lake Carnegie, Princeton, N.J.

Women's Varsity Open Eights (45 boats)

21. Columbia A, 16:00.083
41. Columbia B, 116:57.748

Columbia A
Stephanie Ngai, cox; Louisa Mink, stroke; Tamar Nisbett, 7; Luisa Isbell, 6; Meredith Mead, 5; Lily Keane, 4; Mary Nemeth, 3; Kenzie Bess, 2; Hilary Going, bow

Columbia B
Gabrielle Barilla, cox; Jennifer Wukawitz, stroke; Alexandra Angelo, 7; Sara Hyten, 6; Natalie Rutherford, 5; Kellie Solowski, 4; Caitlin Shufelt, 3; Sylvie Krekow, 2; Nikki Tomm, bow

Women's Novice Eights (15 boats)
3. Columbia A, 16:49.368
14. Columbia B, 18:47.589

Columbia A
Gabrielle Barilla, cox; Hilary Going, stroke; Kenzie Bess, 7; Tamar Nisbett, 6; Lottie Galliano, 5; Katrina Martell, 4; Ellen Ward, 3; Kellie Solowski, 2; Sara Hyten, bow

Columbia B
Jessica Geiger, cox; Ali Seybold, stroke; Yvonne Vogt, 7; Katherine Bergstrom, 6; Karli McMenamin, 5; Jessica Sims, 4; Kate Christiansen, 3; Natalie Russell, 2; Francesca Maggi, bow

Women's Open Fours with Coxswain (43 boats)
20. Columbia A, 18:21.401
30. Columbia B, 18:58.202
36. Columbia C, 20:05.124

Columbia A
Shannon Sullivan, cox; Louisa Mink, stroke; Katie Mitchell, 3; Lily Keane, 2; Lottie Galliano, bow

Columbia B
Stephanie Ngai, cox; Luisa Isbell, stroke; Mary Nemeth, 3; Caitlin Shufelt, 2; Jennifer Wukawitz, bow

Columbia C
Sara Chang, cox; Sylvie Krekow, stroke; Natalie Rutherford, 3; Katrina Martell, 2; Nikki Tomm, bow

Women's Twos
1. Columbia A, 17:34.711
8. Columbia B, 20:22.537
 
Columbia A
McKenzie Largay, Samantha Warren

Columbia B
Alexandra Angelo, Meredith Mead