Mason’s Varsity 8 Rowers Defeat Georgetown for First in School History

Posted: March 28, 2007 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

The Mason women’s rowing team began their spring season on Saturday against George Washington, Georgetown and North Carolina on the Potomac River, hosted by George Washington. The Patriots were the only school that competed in all events: Varsity 8, second Varsity 8, Varsity 4 and Novice 8.

In the morning race, the Novice 8 started the day off competing against George Washington. The Colonials finished first with a time of 7:02.3, followed by Mason with a time of 7:17.3. In the afternoon race, Mason’s Novice 8 rowed against Georgetown and Georgetown lightweights. Georgetown lightweights finished first with a time of 6:33.1, followed by Georgetown at 6:46.9, then Mason at 6:57.6.

“Our goal with the novice is to have them improve from week to week,” says Head Coach Geoff Dillard. “I think they are learning a lot each time they race. They are identifying what they need to work on, and look to improve next week.”

The Varsity 4 won both of its races and was part of two best races of the day. The morning race was a three-boat race against GW and Georgetown. Mason won the race with a time of 7:57.5, followed by GW at 8:03.3 and Georgetown at 8:04.8. The afternoon race was a rematch with GW. Once again, Mason was able to pull out a close finish with a time of 7:20.3, outdistancing GW with a time of 7:20.8.

“I was very pleased with the Varsity 4,” says Dillard. “They were the only Mason boat to win both their races, and they overcame a last-minute lineup change. I was proud of them for being able to focus and race and not get down about the lineup change. Both times they came from behind and pulled the win out in the last 500m. They did a great job of keeping their composure and rowing their race.”

In the morning, Mason’s second Varsity 8 raced with the Varsity 8 and took on the Colonials’ Varsity 8. GW finished first with a time of 6:28.6, followed by Mason Varsity 8 at 6:32.2 and Mason second Varsity 8 at 6:56.8. In the afternoon, the second Varsity 8 squared off against North Carolina’s second Varsity 8. UNC finished first with a time of 6:34.8 followed by Mason at 6:43.1.

“Our second Varsity 8 was a little disappointed with their performance,” says Dillard. “They were not matched against another school’s second Varsity 8 in the morning, but we wanted to give that race a true run so we could get use to the course and the conditions and make adjustments for the afternoon race. In the afternoon they were able to pull out to about a five-seat lead on UNC, but then UNC moved on us, causing us to lose our rhythm, and we never recovered.”

The Varsity 8 raced against GW in the morning and finished four seconds behind them. In the afternoon, the Varsity 8 faced Georgetown and won with a time of 6:44.9. That was a school first for Mason to beat Georgetown in the Varsity 8, edging out the Hoyas’ time of 6:50.9.

“I was very pleased with our Varsity 8,” comments Dillard. “I felt they raced two solid races. I was also pleased that we were just four seconds off GW. We talk a lot about building a better and stronger program here at George Mason and closing the gap on some of the stronger Division I programs. We’ve got a lot of young girls in the boat with some great potential. I think they took a big step forward this weekend in beating Georgetown and closing the gap on GW.”

The Patriots will be racing again on Sunday in Mason’s home race, Occoquan Sprints.

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