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Greensboro, N.C.-- Nationally fifth-ranked Virginia and 10th-ranked Notre Dame are the favorites to win the 15th Annual Atlantic Coast Conference Rowing Championship, which will be held on Lake Hartwell in Clemson, S.C., this Friday and Saturday, May 16 and 17.
UVa and Notre Dame will be competing against 18th-ranked Syracuse, host Clemson, Boston College, Duke, Miami and North Carolina as the ACC field eight rowing teams for the first time and will add a ninth, Louisville, which is currently tied for 17th nationally with Syracuse in the weekly Collegiate Rowing Coaches Association (CRCA) poll, on July 1.
The addition of Notre Dame and Syracuse has expanded the ACC Rowing Championship from four races to a total of 13 races--two heats for all but the Third Varsity Eight on Friday evening beginning at 6 p.m. and concluding with Grand Final for the 3V8 and a Petite and a Grand Final for the First Varsity Eight, Second Varsity Eight and First Varsity Four events on Saturday morning beginning at 8:02 a.m. There is no charge for admission.
Saturday’s Championship action will be video streamed by TheACC.com with Dean Linke providing the play-by-play and Steve Pritzker handling the analysis.
This year’s event marks the 12th time that Clemson has hosted the ACC Rowing Championships on Lake Hartwell.
Virginia enters the Championship having won 13 of the first 14 ACC rowing titles and the Cavaliers of coach Kevin Sauer are the favorites to win again, earning the top seed in each event on a vote of the ACC coaches, but will face their stiffest challenge since Clemson captured the 2009 title, with the Fighting Irish of coach Martin Stone.
Notre Dame has taken advantage of better rowing weather to record better times this season than Virginia in three of the four events, including the First Varsity Eight (6:17.9), the First Varsity Four (7:14.2) and the Second Varsity Eight (6:24.8) events. Those times were all recorded on April 25 with the benefit of a tailwind as Notre Dame defeated 13th-ranked and host Indiana for the Dale England Cup in Bloomington, Ind.
Though in its first season competing in the ACC, Notre Dame brings with it a string of 10 consecutive Big East Championships. They, like Virginia, Syracuse and Clemson are seeking to pad their resumes for the NCAA Championship selection.
The only race the Cavaliers have a better time in is the Third Varsity Eight event. But Virginia recorded very good times in less favorable conditions in losing to third-ranked Ohio State at the ACC-Big Ten Challenge in the First Varsity Eight (6:25.91) in Ann Arbor, Michigan and defeating Michigan State in the Second Varsity Eight (6:32.7) amd the First Varsity Four (7:18.7) on Lake Monticello outside of Charlottesville.
Syracuse, ranked 17th nationally, and host Clemson, also figure to be in the running for the team title. The Tigers, are the only team besides Virginia to win an ACC Rowing title, upsetting the Cavaliers by a slim, one-point (55-54) margin in 2009.
Clemson, coached by Robbie Tenenbaum, also recorded some impressive times last week in dropping four races at 7th-ranked Princeton. The Orange and White Tigers, taking advantage of excellent racing conditions, had a 6:20 clocking in the First Varsity Eight, a 6:41.0 time in the Second Varsity Eight and a 7:19.6 effort in the First Varsity Four.
Syracuse, coached by Justin Moore, has also put together some impressive times in the First Varsity Eight (6:34.4) and the Second Varsity Eight (6:42.5), both coming on Lake Hartwell on March 15 racing against Clemson.
Duke, coached by Robyn Horner, has also put together some competitive times in the First Varsity Eight (6:37.53), the Second Varsity Eight (6:41.8) and the Third Varsity Eight (6:59.5). The Blue Devils, who finished just two points out of second place last year, were also ranked nationally earlier this year in the first CRCA poll of the year.
Miami, coached by Dave Sanderson, has put together increasingly improved performances including very competitive times in the First Varsity Eight (6:36.8) and Second Varsity Eight (6:44.49) in a regatta at Central Florida on April 25.
Boston College, coached by Steve Fiske, also recorded solid times in the Jesuit Invitational in the First Varsity Eight (6:43.29) and the Second Varsity Eight (6:44.04). The Eagles’ best finishes in the ACC Championships have been a trio of fourth-place team finishes in 2009, 2010 and in 2012.
North Carolina, coached by Sarah Haney, had its best performance of the year in the Occuquan Sprints, posting a 6:40.87. The Tar Heels’ best finish in the ACC Rowing Championships was also a third-place effort in 2000.