Women's rowing wins gold at Knecht Cup

Sports Information photo: The women’s four took home gold at the Knecht Cup. They won the final race by 10 seconds and were the only boat under eight minutes.Sports Information photo: The women’s four took home gold at the Knecht Cup. They won the final race by 10 seconds and were the only boat under eight minutes.The 2011-12 season has been a success for the Mercyhurst women’s rowing team, but it’s not over yet.

Last weekend the Lakers faced stiff competition against Div. I schools and captured the gold in the women’s four event. Mercyhurst was the only team to successfully finish under eight minutes with a time of 7:58.99.

The women’s four consisted of senior Holly Ansaldi, sophomore Kate Moran, freshman Pia Frascatore, sophomore Becca Herron and freshman Kristine Wright.

“Knecht Cup is generally one of the smaller regattas we attend,” Ansaldi said.

“This year it had more competitors than ever before. Yet, our women’s varsity four still managed to reclaim the gold. It’s a step in the right direction for our team, but we hope to continue to make progress,” Ansaldi said.

With an addition of nine freshmen out of 19 rowers, the Lakers had to go through a lot of preparation to pull the team together and make this season memorable.

“We’ve made a lot of progress this year as a team. Last year, we came into the season very young. So with a little more experience under our belts, we’ve made major improvements from our previous season,” said Ansaldi.

“We also have a larger team this year allowing us to have greater depth as we attempt to put out even faster boats as the season goes on.”

Currently, the Lakers are ranked second in the latest Division II rankings according to the CRCA/US Rowing Coaches Poll. The first regional rankings were also released with the Lakers claiming the top spot in the East Region.

“We haven’t really changed our practice much this year prior to previous years,” said Ansaldi. “The spring season we tend to back off on the lifting sessions and focus on the rowing though. Specifically, we do rowing technically and together on the boat. We train at Findley Lake in New York every morning as well as 2-3 afternoons a week.”

“With the intensity of our workouts, we believe we are preparing ourselves for whatever lies ahead for us this season,” Ansaldi said.

The Lakers have been quite lucky this year with having many rowers contributing with valuable roles on the team.

“Although at times it can be difficult to work together, at the end of the day, we are involved in rowing for the team not for our own individual success,” Ansaldi said.

The Lakers had two boats advance to the Grand Finals at the SIRA Regatta after their performances last Saturday. Unfortunately both boats weren’t able to capture the gold again.

The varsity four boat finished fifth with a time of 7:55.95, along with the varsity eight boat finishing last at 6:51.23.

“I believe that we are looking at having a very successful season. We continue to improve the times for both women’s varsity eight and women’s varsity four, which are the two boats that would continue on to NCAAs,” Ansaldi said. “Other Div. II Schools have shown success as well, but I am confident that we have a strong team this season and will continue to perform.”

The Lakers next scheduled meet is the MACRA Regatta in Grand Rapids, Mich on Saturday, April 28.