Rowing eager to hit water to start spring season

Cougars look toward returning athletes to help team succeed


Courtesy of WSU Athletic Communications

Members of the WSU rowing team compete in the Head of the Lake in Seattle earlier this year.

JACKSON GARDNER, Evergreen reporter

WSU women’s rowing will launch its boats off the Crown Point Shores in Mission Bay, California, on Saturday to get the spring racing season started with the 45th annual San Diego Crew Classic regatta.

Head Coach Jane LaRiviere said the team is ready to get back in the water after a four-month-plus break.

“It’s the beginning of a journey,” LaRiviere said. “I think every single person on our team and our staff is just really looking forward to going to San Diego and getting started.”

The Cougars concluded the 2017 spring season with a 14th place finish at the NCAA Rowing Championships. The departure of several key senior oarswomen means LaRiviere will have plenty of decisions in how she chooses to fill the open seats in her first varsity eight.

Adequate training conditions this winter has given LaRiviere a larger and much-needed sample size to experiment with her first varsity eight lineup, she said.

The returning members of the 2016-2017 first varsity eight include senior coxswain Jenna Mangiagli, senior Emily Morrow, senior Lucie Weissova, senior Kristel Tohu and junior Paige Danielson.

The Cougars will get their first test against the premiere talent around the country as they compete for the Jessop-Whittier Cup, the race within the San Diego Crew Classic for women’s Division I varsity eights.

“The last time we lined up was in November, so everybody is ready to just find out where we’re at,” LaRiviere said. “There are always things that happen in the first race. It is a relatively long season — we’ll have two months of racing before we have to really have it together at Pac-12s, and hopefully we have enough for NCAAs this year.”

Four of the teams WSU will compete against in the Jessop-Whittier Cup also raced the Cougars in the 2017 NCAA Rowing Championships, including Stanford University, University of California, Berkley, University of Texas at Austin and Gonzaga University.

The rest of the field is loaded with well-regarded programs like University of Southern California, University of California, Los Angeles and University of Oklahoma.

In total, eight of the 12 schools competing in the regatta were ranked or received votes in the final Collegiate Rowing Coaches Association poll of 2017.

The Jessop-Whittier Cup is the main prize for the weekend, but WSU will also race a second varsity eight for the Jackie Ann Stitt Hungness Trophy as well as a varsity four in the Karen Plumleigh Cortney Cup.

Racing kicks off Saturday and will continue through Sunday. WSU’s first varsity eight is scheduled to start their first heat at 9:24 a.m. Saturday, followed by the second varsity eight at 10:24 a.m.

Rounding out the morning is the varsity four’s first heat at 10:48 a.m. All of the races will be streamed live on U.S. Rowing’s Youtube page, with coverage beginning at 7 a.m. Saturday.