FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: MARCH 4, 2009
UChicago Crew Competes at Chicago Indoor Rowing Championships
Chicago, Illinois, 02/28/09 – This past Saturday at Horner Park on the north side of Chicago, the UChicago men’s and women’s Crews competed at the 11th Chicago Indoor Rowing Championships (CIRC’s), the sole competition for their winter quarter. The Chicago Indoor Rowing Championships draws competitors from Chicago-area clubs such as Lincoln Park Boat Club to as far as Marquette and the University of Iowa, competing on indoor rowing machines to finish 2000m (a little over a mile) in as little time as possible.
Both the men and women’s teams acquitted themselves extremely well at CIRC’s. Garrett Allen, men’s captain Hayden Hudson, and second-year Sean Beyers placed first, second, and fourth in the always competitive Collegiate Open Men’s division. “Winning the Collegiate Open weight was fantastic,” said third-year Garrett Allen, who rowed his 2000m race in 6:26.4, a time that would have placed him 4th in the Open Men’s division. “Though what was even better was seeing that University of Chicago men took several of the top spots in both open and lightweight divisions.” Senior Luke Matthews took second in the Collegiate Lightweight Men’s division with a time of 6:41.4, and first-year John Kohler won the Collegiate Novice Lightweight Men’s division by over six seconds with a 6:54.1.
For the women’s crew, who ended their fall season with a top 15 finish at Head of the Charles, the world’s largest regatta, results were equally impressive. First-years Ariel Pomputius and Annabelle Gonzalez-Aranda placed first and second in the Collegiate Novice Lightweight Women’s division with times of 8:02.0 and 8:33.1, and women’s captain Ngiste Abebe and third-year Sonya Ringer placed third and fourth in the Collegiate Open Women’s division, Abebe just beating Ringer by three seconds with a time of 7:36.4. “It’s so great to see the women’s team having solid performances this year, particularly after last year,” Sonya Ringer said. “The women’s team seemed to be falling apart last year, and it’s exciting to be part of a young, but increasingly strong team this year.”
The men and women’s crews also competed in a 2500m relay, where each competitor rows a 500m leg in a fashion similar to Olympic 4×100 and 4×400 relays in track and field. Both relay teams did very well: the women’s relay team, consisting of Ngiste Abebe, Sonya Ringer, second-year Angela Hwangpo, first-year Chelsea Steffen, and first-year Diana Federova came in a heart-breaking close second in the final 500m after dominating the entire race, losing to the relay team from Marquette University by 0.7 seconds with a time of 8:38.8. Still, the women were optimistic: “I’m really pleased with our relay,” said captain and fourth-year Ngiste Abebe. “We haven’t placed as high as second since my first year.”
The men’s relay team rowed an outstanding race, but still ended up losing to the more experienced club team from Lincoln Park Boat Club, who medaled in the Club 8+ division at Head of the Charles this past October. Garrett Allen, Hayden Hudson, senior Miles Betley, Luke Matthews and Sean Beyers competed for the men’s relay team.
This year’s CIRC’s noted the conspicuous absence of one Chicago stalwart: UChicago’s cross-town rivals Northwestern University. “Not having Northwestern there definitely detracted from the feeling of intensity,” said Ringer. “It’s different having them there than having Marquette, for example, because we actually race Northwestern on the water.” Garrett Allen agreed, saying, “It was unfortunate that we didn’t get to see Northwestern this year, but between Iowa and Marquette there was still enough competition to go around.”
The men’s and women’s crew team plans to start rowing on the Chicago River for their annual spring training in two weeks, and all squads are looking to having a successful spring season. “It was rewarding to witness and be a part of our success this year at CIRC’s,” said senior Hayden Hudson. “This year was a testimony to the strength and promise of our program, and I can’t wait to show that strength off on the water this spring.”