It is an exciting weekend ahead for Rutgers fans as both lacrosse teams will play in the NCAA Tournament in the same season for the first time ever. However, there are other rooting interests to be aware of, as another athletic program has a legitimate chance to do something no other Rutgers team has done yet....win a Big Ten Title.
The women’s rowing team heads to the Big Ten Championships on Sunday, May 16 in Indianapolis, Indiana at Eagle Creek Park. The Scarlet Knights are the highest nationally ranked team in the conference at no. 5 and have a legitimate chance to win the first Big Ten Title for any Rutgers athletic program since joining in 2014. The conference has four teams total ranked in the top ten of the latest coaches poll, including defending Big Ten champion Michigan ranked no. 6., Ohio State at no. 8 and Indiana at no. 9. Two other teams are ranked as well with no. 15 Minnesota and no. 20 Wisconsin.
Rutgers fared extremely well in its last event, sweeping both no. 10 Syracuse and no. 14 Princeton in all five races at Mercer Lake on May 2.
The First Varsity Eight has won Big Ten Boat of the Week honors three times this season. They previously beat Michigan and Indiana at the Big Ten Invitational in April and have only lost once this season by less than a second to no. 3 Virginia at the same event.
Rowing has already made history this season when it was ranked no. 4 nationally in April, earning the program’s highest ranking all-time.
The progress made under head coach Justin Price since his arrival in 2017 has been stunning. They’ve gone from afterthought to title contender in a very short period of time.
The Scarlet Knights will look to best its previous best finish of fourth place at the Big Ten Championships in 2019. Of course, expectations have increased and RU is certainly capable of winning the title this weekend. Even if that doesn’t happen, expectations will remain high for the NCAA Championships on Memorial Day Weekend. Rutgers finished a program best 11th in 2019 and based on this season so far, they should have the opportunity to finish within the top five at nationals.
The Big Ten Championships will be televised live on BTN+ and the schedule is as follows:
9:00 am - II Novice Eights (2N8)
9:20 am - I Novice Eights (1N8)
9:40 am - III Fours (3V4)
10:00 am - II Fours (2V4)
10:20 am - I Fours (1V4)
10:40 am - II Eights (2V8)
11:00 am - I Eights (1V8)
12:30 pm - Awards Ceremony
Watch Price, Rachel Usen and Kathleen Butler discuss the upcoming Big Ten Championships here: