The Wolverine

June-July 2012

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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BIG TEN CHAMPIONSHIPS: ROWING Michigan Rows Its Way To A Comeback Conference Title Buckeyes in his or her wake on the way to a Big Ten title. The Wolverines' women's rowing team literally made that happen on May 13. Michigan trailed Ohio State in the Big Ten Championships The dream for any Michigan athlete is to leave a crew of seat in each boat, both of them are very aggressive. Melisa Ongun in the 1V and Ariel Piotter in the 2V just set a really ag- gressive tone. The whole boat did. "They're both very aggressive crews," he noted. "The stroke at Eagle Creek Park in Indianapolis heading into the very final race. But the Wolverines' first varsity eight pulled away from the Buckeyes to win by more than five seconds, clinching Michi- gan's first conference title since 2004. "We've fallen short in really close races," U-M head coach Mark Rothstein noted. "Last year, if we were half a second faster, we would have won the championship. I was just really happy for our seniors. "They've been great lead- ers, and they've set a new level of commitment this year. It was really fun to watch the team celebrate and see how excited they were and how proud they were to represent Michigan. Down by seven points honors, along with senior Lindsey Healy. Meanwhile, the Wol- verines landed three performers on the All-Big Ten first team. Seniors Julia Darnton, Emily Eiffert and Felice Mueller each earned a spot among the best rowers in the conference. Ongun, a redshirt junior, earned second-team All-Big Ten " " heading into the final event, the Wolverines surged to- ward a title in a fast start by the first varsity eight boat. They pushed to an early lead and never trailed, crossing the line in 6:24.350. That win gave Michigan a two-point victory over Ohio State, 2012 BIG TEN ROWING CHAMPIONSHIPS 1. Michigan 2. Ohio State 3. Wisconsin 4. Michigan State 5. Minnesota 6. Indiana 7. Iowa 147 145 122 80 77 44 29 to the first-place Buckeyes, with two events remaining. That's when Michigan's second varsity eight boat carved through the water in dominant fashion, jumping out early and beating Ohio State by nearly eight seconds. "We felt like we had a chance to win the last two events, The Wolverines actually stood in third place, 13 points down Rothstein said. "We were in a position that if we did that, we would win the championship. Ohio State's second eight was undefeated, as was ours, and we knew that was going to be a showdown. "When we were able to win that race, and fairly decisively, I Rothstein added that the Wolverines saw strong leadership from the stroke seat in each of the final two races. " 74 THE WOLVERINE JUNE/JULY 2012 The Wolverines came from behind to beat Ohio State and capture Michigan's first Big Ten rowing title since 2004. 147-145. Here is how the final standings shaped up for the conference championships: drought for a perennially strong squad, it delivered a confer- ence-best fifth league championship to Ann Arbor. Rothstein finds himself eying more than the record books. The breakthrough Big Ten victory not only stops a title His squad competes in the NCAA Championships May 25-27 in West Windsor, N.J. He isn't conceding anything, taking the Wolverines into the competition with some momentum. "We're going there to win, extremely fast. Going into it, our second eight will probably be seeded first. Our first eight will probably be seeded third or fourth, possibly second. Our four will probably be seeded around 10th. "If our four can beat their seed by a place or two, and our 1V can beat their seed by a place, and our 2V can hold their seed, we'll have a good shot at winning. It's based on points, so it depends on what other crews do. " into the NCAA Championships, Rothstein noted. "They're strong in all of their events, and Ohio State is strong in all of their events as well," he said. "Virginia has got a really The University of California will be the team to beat heading " fast first boat, but their second boat hasn't been that fast. There are a lot of teams like that. was pretty confident that our 1V would win, too. They race the 2V every day in practice, and I thought if our 2V was that fast, our 1V was going to go pretty good as well. taking down a strong Ohio State squad for the Big Ten title, and doing so in clutch fashion down the stretch, means plenty. Besides, the head coach noted, the opportunity is there for anyone. "It's wide open, as well be us." His own group has plenty going for it. The momentum of " " he said. "Somebody has got to win it. It might — John Borton " Rothstein said. "It's going to be PHOTO COURTESY MICHIGAN ATHLETIC MEDIA RELATIONS

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