CLEMSON, S.C. — Virginia, the nation’s No. 1-ranked team, captured the 2012 Atlantic Coast Conference Rowing Championship Saturday, winning on the final race of the day, the First Varsity Eight, edging host Clemson on Lake Hartwell.
In doing so, the Cavaliers took their third consecutive ACC title and their 12th in the 13 years of the event. Clemson is the only other ACC team to have captured a league title, doing so in 2009.
The event was held in front of a record Rowing Championship crowd of approximately 1,100 fans with calms winds and a temperature of 61 degrees. Virginia totaled 56 points, followed by Clemson with 52, Duke (39), Boston College (27), North Carolina (18) and Miami (17).
After the championship, in a vote by the ACC coaches, Miami’s Hannah Hawks was named ACC Freshman of the Year.
“Hannah Hawks has had a fantastic season for us as a freshman,” said Miami head coach Andrew Carter. “In my eyes, she’s not capable of making a poor decision. She sat squarely in our top boat as a freshman. She’s shown great leadership throughout the year and set a very positive tone for the future of our program.”
Virginia head coach Kevin Sauer was named ACC Coach of the Year, his third consecutive ACC Coach of the Year honor and eighth overall.
“This is never old hat,” said Sauer. “Every championship is worthy and a lot of fun. The student-athletes did a real fine job today. Clemson did a fantastic job in the Four and really rallied there. But our other boats did a good job.
“Everybody stepped up and raced. The Novices, the 2-V’s and the First Varsity Eight all had good wins.
“I’m honored to be named Coach of the Year, but that has more to do with associate head coach Steve Pritzker, Josh Gautrea, our graduate assistant coach Amanda Purcell and the kids. That’s how you get a coach of the year award is the efforts of those guys.”
The Cavaliers and Tigers came into the final race of the day – the First Varsity Eight – tied with 32 points each after Clemson took an early lead by winning the First Varsity Four competition.
But Virginia’s First Varsity Eight crew took the pivotal race in convincing fashion posting a time of 6:27.9 to outdistance the Tigers, who finished second with a time of 6:38.6.
Virginia’s First Varsity Eight crew, composed of coxswain: Sidney Thorsten; Keziah Beall; Martha Kuzzy; Kristine O’Brien; Sarah Cowburn; Fiona Schlesinger; Susanne Grainger; Hemingway Benton; and Carli Goldberg, was also named the 2012 ACC Crew of the Year for their efforts.
Clemson had opened the day with an impressive win in the First Varsity Four race behind the crew of coxswain Carissa Richardson; Taylor Hoynacki; Katie Mosier; Rebekah Clogston, Sr.; and Kenzie DuBrul, posting a time of 7:37.9 to defeat second-place Duke (7:46.6) and third-place Virginia (7:47.1).
The Tigers win in the First Varsity Four marked only the fifth time Virginia has lost an event in the 13-year history of the ACC Championships.
The Cavaliers, though, bounced back by winning the next three races.
Virginia’s Novice Eight team finished first in a time of 6:53.8, 11 seconds better than second-place Clemson (6:51.6). Virginia’s Novice Eight team was composed of coxswain Hayley LaFleche; Chloe Carry; Andie McPartland; Lexie Katz; Veronica Jones; Katie Hillson; Caroline Burke; Emily Crump; and Hannah Yoest.
UVa then tied the meet by winning the Second Varsity Eight competition, posting a time of 6:43.3, to Clemson’s 6:51.6.
The Cavaliers’ Second Varsity Eight was composed of coxswain Molly Frear; MacKenzie Leahy; Chandler Lally; Elle Murray; Kaitlin Fanikos; Ruth Retzinger; Sarah Borchelt; Morgan Joseph and Carolyn Glandorf.
Five Virginia rowers led the 2012 All-ACC Rowing team announced at the end of the day which was composed of Breanna Hayton of Miami; Blair Meigs; Erin Roche and Elllen Burr of Boston College; Emily Theys and Kathy Smithwick of Duke; Becca Brown, Heather Cummings and Kate Biladeau of Clemson; and Sidney Thorsten, Keziah Beall, Martha Kuzzy, Kristine O’Brien and Sarah Cowburn of Virginia.
The All-ACC honor was the third for Virginia coxswain Sidney Thorsten of Atlanta, Ga., who guided UVa’s First Varsity Eight boat to three consecutive ACC titles.