October 6, 2006

W. Crew to Race in Rochester

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The National Hockey League is not the only sport getting under way this week. The women’s crew will also opens its season, as is participates in the Head of the Genesee Invitational Regatta, formerly known as the Stonehurst Regatta.

The race will be held on Sunday at the Genesee River in Rochester, N.Y., and is hosted by the Rochester Institute of Technology. The event’s organizers expect more than 10,000 spectators and 800 athletes from 35 schools around the world. Cornell head coach Chris Wilson is excited for her team’s debut.
[img_assist|nid=18828|title=First dip.|desc=The women’s crew will see its first action of the season this weekend when it hits the water in Rochester, N.Y., for the Head of the Genesee Invitational. ( Sun File Photo)|link=popup|align=right|width=100|height=47]
“This is a much more competitive, athletic squad [than last year], and there is a lot of competition among the athletes, which we have not really had the last two years,” Wilson said. “That is pretty exciting and that means that we have intense practices and we can replicate racing scenarios. We are much more ready to race than last fall.”

Although only the Cornell women are participating this year, the Regatta has eight classes of competition, including men’s lightweight fours, women’s light weight fours, men’s heavyweight fours, women’s heavyweight fours, men’s lightweight eights, women’s lightweight eights, men’s heavyweight eights, and women’s heavyweight eights. The head race is a 5K, while the sprint race is 1.5K. The race does have one unique oddity.

“It is the only regatta that I know of, at least in the northeast, in which the head race and the sprint race are run on the same day,” Wilson said.

Cornell has not participated in the Regatta since 2001. Last year, the women’s open eights were won by the University of Western Ontario, who posted a total time of 32:18:19 to finish first overall. Colgate , Radcliffe, Syracuse and SUNY Buffalo rounded out the top-5in the open eights division.

The Red will look to improve after last year’s up and down season, which included a 15th-place finish at last fall’s Princeton Chase and a 10th-place finish at the Eastern Women’s Sprint Championship at Cooper River during the spring. The team hopes to build on this year’s fall season as it looks toward spring competition.

Cornell will be returning several key rowers, including junior Kimberly Kraemer, who last year was a first-team Mid-Atlantic All-Region selection. Seniors Kimberly Lyle and captain Michelle Furbacher and senior coxswain Diana Athonvarangkul also hope to lead Cornell to a strong season.

“Michelle Furbacher is the captain and one of the most experienced rowers on the squad, because she rowed in Canada from the time she was very young,” Wilson said. “She is already proving to be a very good captain. She is a good communicator and is setting a really good tone for the entire squad.”

Cornell will have to contend with several other teams hungry for the Regatta title. Top among the competition will be Syracuse, which returns six members from last year’s varsity eight squad, including senior Katie Schneider and junior Allison Dooderman, who both received all-region honors last season.

The Red should also be wary of SUNY Buffalo, who despite losing eight seniors last year, brought in a strong recruiting class under third-year coach Rudy Wieler. Although the Bulls are young, their upperclassmen have the experience of several key victories last year, including at the Head of the Fish Regatta and the Harvey Cup.