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Cougar rowing hits the water in South Carolina

WSU will take part in second to last race before Pac-12 Championships

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WSU rowing practices prior to its race at the Clemson Invitational this weekend.

WSU rowing practices prior to its race at the Clemson Invitational this weekend.

Courtesy of WSU Athletic Communications

Courtesy of WSU Athletic Communications

WSU rowing practices prior to its race at the Clemson Invitational this weekend.

JACKSON GARDNER, Evergreen reporter

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No. 15 WSU rowing will travel across the country to compete in the Clemson Invitational for its second-to-last tune-up before racing for a conference championship.

The Cougars will make their fourth consecutive trip to the Clemson Invitational and get a final taste of fellow Power Five conference competition unless they qualify for the NCAA Championships for the sixth consecutive year.

WSU is among 21 teams, 11 of which are ranked or have received votes in the USRowing poll, that will race on Lake Hartwell this Saturday and Sunday.

“This is a big event for us — we get to measure ourselves against a strong conference,” Head Coach Jane LaRiviere said. “This is an important time for us because the Pac-12 is so strong, and from that we can lose sight of how we’re performing. So it’s good to go get some close racing as we learn more about the team and hopefully get a few wins.”

The six top-20 programs the Cougars will race include No. 4 Ohio State University, No. 9 University of Virginia, No. 13 University of Southern California, No. 17 Indiana University, No. 18 Syracuse University and No. 20 University of Oklahoma.

Three additional Pac-12 schools will be at the Clemson Invitational racing against WSU. It will be the last time the schools line up against each other until they meet at the Pac-12 Championships in a little over a month. The Cougars will run into Oregon State University, who they swept in four events last weekend, as well as USC and University of California, Los Angeles.

“We feel support from the Pac-12 when we’re in a big regatta, and if were not racing the Pac-12, we want to be supportive of the Pac-12,” LaRiviere said. “I think the real important stuff is the people that we don’t have a chance to face again.”

LaRiviere said traveling to South Carolina will be a challenge, but the Cougars are prepared.

“It’s a big travel day and it’s a long way to go, but we’ve been doing it for four years now and it’s part of the routine,” LaRiviere said. “All of the juniors, seniors and sophomores have been there once before, so it’s not like anything is unexpected.”

WSU’s first varsity eight will take to the water for the Cougars at 5:38 a.m. Saturday.

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Cougar rowing hits the water in South Carolina