EARLYVILLE, Va. -- Women's rowing coach Scott Ramsey gambled a bit when he scheduled a November race for his Columbia women's team. November weather is not usually kind to collegiate rowing, but Ramsey's gamble paid off handsomely, both in the conditions, and in the Lions' performances.
Blessed by 70-degree temperatures and sunny, windless skies over the Rivanna Reservoir, the Columbia women excelled, finishing second only to the defending NCAA champion University of Virginia in both the varsity eights and varsity fours at UVA's Rivanna Romp.
"I'm very excited about today," Ramsey said. "This was a great way to close out our fall competition."
Although the 4000-meter head race included Penn, Old Dominion and Louisville, Columbia had set its sights directly on the orange and blue of the Virginia Cavaliers.
"[Virginia coach Kevin] Sauer has set the bar with speed and depth," Ramsey noted. "It was very important for us to come down here and row them … if you want to win the national championship, you have to row against the best in the nation."
Virginia won the varsity eights race in 13:19, but Columbia was right behind, clocking in a rounded-off 13:28, actually 8.6 seconds behind. The Lions were followed by Virginia B, 13:47, Louisville A, 13:48, and Penn A, 13:58.
Columbia B was seventh, in 14:26, and Columbia C was 12th in 15:16.
"We recognized that Virginia was our main competition today," senior co-captain Samantha Warren said, "and we tried to run them down on their home course.
Ramsey lauded the varsity A's showing.
"That was a tremendous result," he said. "We're rowing better technically, and we're fitter.
"I'm pleased how hard all our crews raced today. They rowed aggressively and at a high cadence."
Ramsey also praised the Lion fours. With lineups that in some cases had never competed together, they finished second (Varsity A), fifth, 11th and 14th. The varsity A four, consisting of five people from the A eight, sped down the reservoir in 15:07, second only to Virginia A's 14:45. Columbia B defeated both the A and B fours from Penn, Louisville and Old Dominion.
"The fours all performed well," Ramsey noted. "This fours competition let them compete against each other, as well as the other schools. I'm pleased how hard they raced today. You need strong depth to win the national title."
Rowers are often depressed by having to go indoors after their fall seasons, subjected to the monotony of indoor weight and erg training. But not these Lions. Like their coaches, their gazes are firmly fastened on the two spring championships, the Ivies and the NCAA's.
"We've been working really hard," Sam Warren said. "We're excited about going indoors and working harder. We can get faster and stronger indoors."
"We worked hard all summer and fall; in fact, this goes back to last season," Ramsey noted. "We're constantly moving forward.
"We have great senior leadership, we're more seasoned and experienced. They have a great mindset. They're not complacent; they know they have a gap to make up."
The Rivanna Romp (4000-meter head races)
Sunday, November 11, 2012
Rivanna Reservoir, Earlyville, Va.
Varsity Eights (13 boats)
1. Virginia A, 13:19
2. COLUMBIA A, 13:28
3. Virginia B, 13:47
4. Louisville A, 13:48
5. Penn A, 13:58
6. Virginia C, 14:18
7. COLUMBIA B, 14:26
8. Penn B, 14:32
9. Old Dominion A, 14:34
10. Virginia D, 14:43
11. Old Dominion B, 15:11
12. COLUMBIA C, 15:16
13. Old Dominion C, 15:17
Varsity Fours (18 boats)
1. Virginia A, 14:45
2. COLUMBIA A, 15:07
3. Louisville C, 15:26
4. Virginia B, 15:37
5. COLUMBIA B, 15:37
6. Louisville A, 15:38
7. Louisville B, 15:39
8. Penn B, 15:40
9. Penn A, 15:57
10. Old Dominion A, 16:13
11. COLUMBIA C, 16:14
12. Old Dominion B, 16:14
13. Virginia C, 16:16
14. COLUMBIA D, 16:24
15. Virginia D, 16:35
16. Penn C, 16:40
17. Virginia E, 17:03
18. Old Dominion Novice, 17:53
First Varsity Eight A
Aneesha Baliga, cox; Rebecca Randall, stroke; Fiona Duffy, 7; Samantha Warren, 6; Alexandra Delaney, 5; Karli McMenamin, 4; Jocelyn Bohn, 3; Nikki Bourassa, 2; Hilary Going, bow
Second Varsity Eight B
Clare Hua, cox; Natalie Rutherford, stroke; Hayley Weil, 7; Amelia Brunner, 6; Lily Keane, 5; Kellie Solowski, 4; Elisa Mirkil, 3; Jessica Werlin, 2; Lottie Galliano, bow
Third Varsity Eight C
Reyna Calderon, cox; Alexandra Swift, stroke; Caitlin Shufelt, 7; Madeline O'Brien, 6; Carly Tashijan, 5; Colleen Condon, 4; Lilly Mudge, 3; India Knight, 2; Nikki Tomm, bow
Varsity Four A
Aneesha Baliga, cox; Nikki Bourassa, stroke; Alexandra Delaney, 3; Samantha Warren, 2; Fiona Duffy, bow
Varsity Four B
Clare Hua, cox; Rebecca Randall, stroke; Jocelyn Bohn, 3; Karli McMenamin, 2; Hilary Going, bow
Varsity Four C
Reyna Calderon, cox; Natalie Rutherford, stroke; Lily Keane, 3; Amelia Brunner, 2; Hayley Weil, bow
Varsity Four D
Jill Klein, cox; Jessica Werlin, stroke; Elisa Mirkil, 3; Kellie Solowski, 2; Lottie Galliano, bow