COLUMBUS, Ohio – In a Big Ten Championship that came down to the final race, No. 10 Ohio State captured the program’s third conference title Sunday at Eagle Creek Park in Indianapolis, Ind., thanks partly to the First Varsity Eight’s ability to hold off Michigan’s crew by .48 seconds.
The Buckeyes held a slim three-point lead with 88 points over Wisconsin and the Wolverines were not far behind with 79 points heading into the 1V8 race. A win or runner-up finish by either Ohio State, Wisconsin or Michigan in the First Varsity Eight race would have locked up the championship for that team. Michigan State helped make things interesting by winning the finale in 6:17.12. About 3.4 seconds later, the Scarlet and Gray’s Claudia Herpertz, Carolin Helmholz, Allison Elber, Caroline McPherson, Claire-Louise Bode, Emily Walsh, Claudia Schiwy, Ulrike Denker and coxswain Erika Benford clipped the Wolverines for that crucial second-place finish, sounding the horn in 6:20.53. The Wolverines finished in 6:21.01.
Following the championships, four Buckeyes were named all-conference. Denker and Schiwy earned First Team distinctions, while Helmholz and Bode were honored with Second Team laurels.
The 2011 edition of the Big Ten championships will air on Big Ten Network at noon May 28.
Complementing its Big Ten titles from 2002 and 2006, the 2011 championship was an illustration of consistency by Ohio State as all six boats notched Top 3 finishes in its respective races, including gold-medal performances by the Second Varsity Eight and Second Varsity Four.
“This was a great team effort,” Andy Teitelbaum, head coach, said. “We earned six medals in six events and that shows this is truly a team trophy. It is a culmination of the tremendous hard work by everyone involved with this program.”
Down by three points in the team race, the 2V8 of Corinne Meinert, Tess Prescott, Mandy Merritt, Samantha Fowle, Ingrid Aasaaren, Ellen Heister, Anniken Ellingsen, Kate Sweeney and coxswain Samantha Getz lifted the Buckeyes to a three-point advantage of their own when they clinched the win with a time of 6:25.33. The Scarlet and Gray held off the Badgers by 1.77 seconds to set up the dramatic First Varsity Eight race.
After just two races, Ohio State trailed Michigan for the team lead (21-17), but the Buckeye Second Varsity Four’s near eight-second win over Wisconsin helped the Scarlet and Gray tie the team score at 31 a piece with the Wolverines. The 2V4 of coxswain MacKenzie Pecor, Julie Dick, Lindsey Titus, Ashley Dzurnak and Katherine Tylinski clocked in at 7:15.29, while the Badgers finished in 7:23.21.
Racing between the Second Novice Eights opened competition at Eagle Creek Park. The Buckeye 2N8 finished third (7:02.41). Coxswain Natalie Pantalos, Marissa Davis, Charlene Jones, Emily Deyarman, Kate Cline, Michelle Voss, Brianna Sulenski, Ashley Pryor and Katelyn Pagan helped the Buckeyes to a solid start, collecting five team points.
A Top 2 finish by Ohio State ensued, as the First Novice Eight (coxswain Megan Obrien, Sarah Corna, Katie King, Brittney Wex, Eelkje Miedema, Lauren Eckles, Katy Cook, Lauren Franke, Ellen Haa) finished its race in 6:37.60. Only .84 seconds separated Ohio State from winner Michigan (6:36:76).
Coxswain Kristin DiJosie and crew Stephanie Johnson, Kara Shropshire, Jill Mohr and Emily Ralph added 15 team points following their third-place finish in the First Varsity Four race. The Buckeyes clocked in at 7:20.48. With Ohio State owning 46 team points, it trailed leaders Michigan and Wisconsin by just three (49 points) heading into the 2V8 and 1V8 races.