For a second consecutive year, Rutgers rowing produced a program best third place finish in the Big Ten Championships at Eagle Creek Park in Indianapolis, Indiana on Sunday. The No. 18 Scarlet Knights finished behind No. 9 Ohio State and No. 6 Michigan. However, their team performance was even better than last year, as they set a program record with six medal-winning results this past weekend. You can watch the history making day for RU on Saturday, May 21st at 11:00 a.m. on the Big Ten Network and Fox Sports App.
The highlight of the meet for the Scarlet Knights came in the opening race of the day as the 2nd Novice 8 boat delivered the program’s first ever Big Ten gold medal in a photo finish victory over the Buckeyes by three-tenths of a second.
After leading early on, Rutgers pushed through to hold on and they made history in the process. The team was comprised of coxswain Megan Cherichello, stroke Catherine Garvey, and teammates Natalie Davis, Jana Tarabic, Julia Galesi, Johanna Murphy, Aida Fong, Bemi Faba, Barbara Benda.
Rutgers earned bronze medals in five of the six other races at the Big Ten Championships. They finished in third place in the 2nd Varsity 8, Varsity 4, 2nd Varsity 4, Novice 8, and 3rd Varsity 4. The lone finish without a medal was a fourth place performance by the Varsity 8 after a slow start cost them a third place finish by sixth-tenths of a second. Even so, it was an incredible overall performance from the Scarlet Knights and Varsity 8 boat will only get stronger from the experience.
“Today was a historic day for our program with six medals and our first-ever individual boat Big Ten gold medal,” said head coach Justin Price. “I am really proud of our entire squad and the way everyone raced throughout the team. This was a great step forward and we are looking forward to continuing to build competitive excellence in everything we do.”
Individual honors included Hannah Heideveld, who was selected to the All-Big Ten First Team a year after being named Big Ten Freshman of the Year last Spring. Graduate student Luisa Neerschulte earned All-Big Ten Second Team honors while Emily Mahaffy was the named the Big Ten Sportsmanship Award winner for Rutgers.
The Scarlet Knights earned an at-large bid for the 2022 NCAA Championships on Tuesday. They are part of a 22 team field to compete at Nathan Benderson Park in Sarasota, Florida from May 27-29. Rutgers has now made the NCAA Championships in three consecutive years for the first time in program history. The competition includes races for Varsity 8, 2nd Varsity 8, and Varsity 4 boats. Last Spring, Rutgers delivered a program best 7th place finish at nationals and RU will look to have a strong performance once again.