INDIANAPOLIS – Barry University finished second at the NCAA Division II Rowing Championships Sunday at Eagle Creek Park. It matched the Buccaneers’ best finish in school history.
Barry finished with 15 points. Nova Southeastern won the title with 20. Western Washington was third with 10 and Mercyhurst fourth with five. It marks the first time since 2004 an East Coast school won the national championship.
The Bucs Varsity 4 of freshman coxswain Angela Dasch, sophomore stroke Kasia Walentynowicz, sophomore Mandy Carper, senior Helene Pierre and junior bow Rebekah Kilroy finished second in 7:51.362. Nova won with a time of 7:43.851. The Buccaneers came from behind with 500 meters remaining to overtake Western Washington, who crossed the line in 7:55.234.
“It’s a really good feeling to know that we surprised ourselves,” Dasch said. “When I called it, they moved, and they definitely deserved every bit of that silver medal.”
Barry trailed WWU by roughly 2.1 seconds with 500 meters to go, but stormed back with a strong finish to overcome the Vikings, last year’s NCAA runner-up. Western Washington won seven straight titles from 2005-11.
"In the 4's race, that was a great row," Bucs coach Dave Sanderson said. "They found themselves down early, and had to fight their way back the whole way down the course. Their last surge got themselves into the second position. It was a great move."
The Bucs 8 of senior cox Gracie Horwitz, junior stroke Kristina Boncheva, junior Anna Boada, freshman Rosie Boncheva, freshman Monika Kaminska, freshman Beth Desmond, freshman Anais Foppoli, sophomore Emma Howard and senior bow Kelly Harrison placed second in 6:48.005. Nova won in 6:42.744. UC San Diego was third in 6:54.691 and Western Washington fourth in 6:59.124.
"In the 8, it seems like we struggled in the first 500," Sanderson said. "They did claw themselves back into contention. It was essentially were dead even times at the 1000 and the 1500. We tried, but we just couldn't hold pace in the last 500, and Nova surged with a great final sprint. Congratulations to the Nova crew. They rowed a fantastic race."
At the 1000, the Bucs trailed the Sharks by roughly 49 one-hundredths of a second. Barry was neck-and-neck with Nova at the 1500 with a split time just 53 one-hundredths of a second behind.
“It might not be what we wanted, but going as a team for the first time in four years, that’s a really big accomplishment,” Horwitz said. “We gave it our all going into it, but in the end it just came up short. But we finished the season with a great record, and we all did it together as a team. That’s what I want to reflect on.”
Barry’s 8 won 14 of 16 races this season with titles at the Dad Vail Regatta, Knecht Cup and Sunshine State Conference Championships.
“This group right here singlehandedly took Barry rowing to another level,” Sanderson told his team. “It was a great season, and we should all feel proud of what we accomplished.
"It's a long season, and there's no way we could have achieved the results we have without the help of a number of instrumental people without the full support of our athletic department and the entire Barry community. I would especially like to thank my assistant coaches Boban Rankovic and Nick Goode for their commitment to the program and our athletes.
"As proud as everyone is, and I couldn't be any more proud of our team right now for finishing second in the nation, I'm not sure everyone's satisfied with the result. I'll be looking back on the season and evaluating where I can make improvements for next year and how I can do a better job of developing our athletes. There's no doubt our season starts tomorrow, and we'll be working hard to put ourselves in a position where we can compete for a national championship in 2014."