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Rain, Wind And Tornado Sirens: Irish Advance into Semifinal Races Regardless

May 31, 2013, 6:12 PM EDT

When I arrived in Indianapolis yesterday afternoon, the sun was shining and it was hot out. I was excited to be working my third NCAA Championship event at the 2013 NCAA Championship Regatta for women’s rowing. I also had high hopes that my bad sports mojo was finally gone after my beloved Red Wings lost in game 7 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs on Wednesday, and that with Notre Dame’s rowing team making their second consecutive NCAA appearance (sixth overall), it would be a great weekend.

On both of my previous NCAA trips, my beloved Irish teams sadly came up short of bringing home NCAA Gold to the Golden Dome (fencing placed second in San Antonio, and men’s lacrosse lost to eventual-champion Duke 12-11 two weeks prior in Lucas Oil Stadium, also in Indy). Even with my hopes and dreams of finally winning, nothing prepared me for a morning that started at 4:45am, did not have coffee, and involved me falling asleep in my boss’s car waiting out a severe weather warning. True story.

Finally though, the races began shortly after 8am and Notre Dame put the FIGHT in Fighting Irish right from the start. Both the second varsity eight boat (coxed by Christina Dines and pulled by Paige Aiello, Teresa Blumenstein, Ingrid Woelfel, Carlee Beckler, Rose Doerfler, Kelsey Haddad, Kelsey Sekanick and Teresa Rubinger) and the varsity four boat advanced into the A/B semifinal races, tentatively (key word there, TENTATIVELY) scheduled for Saturday morning currently.

In the seventh race of the morning and the third heat of the first varsity eight boats, Notre Dame claimed third with a time of 7:07.338, almost 12 seconds behind first-place finisher Ohio State. Similarly, the second varsity eight boat also finished third in their morning preliminary heat with a time of 7:15.092 (also, in the third heat of the event). In the third and final preliminary race for the Irish, the four boat consisting of coxswain Danni Schneider, Kelsey Murphy, Ellen Gleadow, Stella Willoughby and Kiersten DeHaven placed second in the fourth heat, racing 2,000m in a time of 8:07.739. All three launches advanced into the repechage (remember, last chance races?) rounds of the afternoon.

Before those afternoon races were off and running my bad mojo returned in full force however, this time technologically speaking. Our resident OIT computer geek Greg Weaver enjoys calling me a troublemaker around the office and blaming me for computer malfunctions. Well, until today I never believed I was the cause of computers deciding not to cooperate, but what other explanation is there for a Sprint mifi internet card not charging; said internet card not providing internet once a charging solution was created; a desktop printer not printing (even though we refilled the paper tray twice!), and a XEROX copier not copying (even with three people examining every nook and cranny for a phantom paper jam?!?) To top it all off, tornado sirens went off during the 23rd race of the day, because the county chose today to test them.

I could say that I am just a walking bad luck charm, but then how do you explain our repechage finishes from this afternoon? The first varsity eight launch stroked with all they had, but finished .560 of a second out of the top spot in the first eight repechage heat. Stanford advanced with the team victory and Yale claimed second in what was easily the most competitive race I saw all day. Photo finishes were involved for pete’s sake! It was so close but clear on the computer screens that Yale was in second, unfortunately for us.

In the next repechage event, the second varsity eight launch placed second with a 7:27.079 mark. In the final race of the day for the Irish, the varsity four boat was six seconds behind first-place finisher Washington (8:01.718). The Notre Dame launch was still fast enough to place second (8:07.379) and join their second eight-boat teammates in the Saturday races.

My day wasn’t all horrible either. Despite being under-caffeinated and famished after missing breakfast (complimentary breakfast at the Hyatt Place started a full hour & a half after we left this morning), my boss agreed to get Quizno’s for lunch. Ahhh, Quizno’s: my first job at 16, still my favorite sandwich shop (although McCallister’s gives it a good run for that title), and sadly, not in South Bend. I am sure my stomach was as happy as the rowers looking ahead to tomorrow.

For NCAA Race notes, click here. For full results, follow NCAA rowing on twitter, where our own ND Media Relations assistant Nate Doolin will be live tweeting tomorrow and up-to-the-minute weather alerts will also be posted. For all stories on ND rowing, check out our website as well.

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