Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Top 10 Lightweight Rowing Stories of 2006

This year, although not quite over, has been eventful for women's lightweight rowing. Herewith, in reverse order, is my take on the top ten stories of 2006:

10) Radcliffe's novice eight - Yes, they're novices. Yes, it's only the fall. But gosh, were they fast.

9) Tulsa begins developing a lightweight program - Tulsa evinces all the signs of an up-and-coming varsity rowing team and they've decided to develop a lightweight program. If they're successful they could be the next UCF and another model for how a relatively unknown rowing school can have a national impact. Nice HOCR light four finish too.

8) Pittsburgh is the top collegiate light four at the Head of the Charles - A darkhorse shows that rowing well as a crew beats rowing well as erg scores.

7) Men's heavyweight NCAA championship is voted down by the NCAA - A potential bullet to the heart of men's and women's lightweight rowing is avoided - for now.

6) Radcliffe coach Cecile Tucker becomes head of the CRCA lightweight committee - A lightweight only coach takes over leadership of the lightweight committee ending the most obvious conflict of interest (coaching both lightweights and heavyweights) battled by past chairmen. It's hard to make the CRCA pay attention to lightweights, but only a lightweight coach really has the incentive to fight for the category.

5) UCF and Bucknell race in the IRA final - Sure, there are always six boats in the final, including at times one or the other of these crews, but usually only to round out the field. I purposely said race the final because this year UCF and Bucknell belonged with the rest of the boats in the field and gave them a run for their money. Heck, UCF beat Wisconsin in the heat. The performance of these two crews symbolized just how tight the lightweight field is getting.

4) The IRA dam opening - The dam opening at IRA's created unfair conditions for all four national championship races. The mainstream rowing media reported inaccurate information. Other than the ECAC, no one in the rowing establishment acknowledged the debacle until just last week, 6 months after the fact. We all deserve better.

3) Georgetown finishes second in the nation - The Hoyas finally get tired of saying, "We were fourth," and row to a second place finish at IRAs. This was a long time in coming and is further evidence that there are no more "gimmes" in women's lightweight rowing.

2) Wisconsin wins its third national championship in a row - It's official, Wisconsin is a women's lightweight rowing dynasty. Wisco keeps winning, not for lack of competition, but for skill and heart.

1) Coach Mary Shofner leaves Wisconsin - Coach Shofner, who led the Badgers to three national championships, decided to leave the program at the end of the 2006 spring season. A loss for Wisconsin became the Stanford heavyweights' gain. Most surprising is that she didn't end up as a head coach. In particular the biggest loser in this story is Penn who was looking for a head coach this summer. Instead of begging Shofner to move east, they got, well, someone else.

There you have my top stories of 2006. Did I miss anything? Get the order wrong? Let me know what you think because in a few short weeks we'll be trying to predict the top stories of 2007.

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Anonymous said...

somewhere very close to the top of this ranking should be the good things this blog has done for the sport of lightweight womens rowing. impressive is not the word for the amount of time, effort and energy you put into this project. Please keep up the good work.

Mama Duck said...

Wow, how exciting and what a great recap. Best wishes to you in 2007!

We also participated in this project, stop on by if you get a chance!

Ashish Mohta said...

great!!.Thx for sharing the info.

I also got entry in darrens project.

And i am feeding your blog.There wont be another chance to meet so many bloggers

JW Burk said...

Anonymous: Thank you.

Anonymous said...

I agree. Thanks FnD!

Jack Williamson said...

#3 (the one about Georgetown) is my favorite!