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The Daily Tar Heel

UNC rowing team cuts margin of victory against Georgetown

When so many variables can be the difference between a victory and a loss, one of the only constants coaches can control is their lineup.

North Carolina rowing coach Sarah Haney, however, prefers to keep her athletes on their toes when it comes to boat positioning.

Saturday in the Tar Heels’ meet versus Georgetown in Washington, D.C., Haney did just that, creating brand new lineups for each of the four races.

“We tell the team all the time that our job is to find the top athletes to go into our top boats,” Haney said. “If we’re doing well as a team, then that will always change.”

Haney’s strategy proved to be successful as the Tar Heels improved on their performance from last season’s tough loss to the Hoyas.

Although Georgetown clinched the Class of 2006 Cup by winning the varsity eight, UNC won the varsity four and freshman/novice eight races.

Compared to last year’s matchup, UNC’s varsity eight shrunk Georgetown’s margin of victory from 13 seconds to 4.2 seconds.

Despite the team’s progress, senior captain Carie Mastrianni felt that there was room for improvement on the Potomac.

“We performed a lot better than last year, but it’s always unfulfilling when you don’t win,” Mastrianni said. “If we had another week in that lineup, the race would’ve been vastly different. As rowers, we need to be better about flowing with each other.”

The capriciousness of Haney’s lineups was not entirely due to her discretion. Unfortunately for the Tar Heels, multiple athletes suffered major injuries in February, forcing Haney to make quick substitutions in the varsity and second varsity boats.

Senior captain Alex McClelland, who recently returned after a hip injury, explained the difficulty of being sidelined.

“It’s hard to stay positive when you feel like you’re not able to have a big contribution to the team physically,” McClelland said. “But you’re still a vital part of the team, and people rely on you to work as hard as you can to come back from injury. I think (injuries) do stress people out because our numbers are so small, but team morale is fine.”

With major contributors like freshman Carolyn Dalrymple, sophomore Abby Lantz and sophomore Caroline Campbell still hurt, Haney will continue to tinker with the roster and balance the personalities of each boat.

“We’re a lot closer to a perfect lineup than we were a few weeks ago. It’s not necessarily the eight strongest people in the first varsity eight, but the eight right people who all flow together make it happen,” Mastrianni said.

“It’s like chemistry where all of a sudden it’s a perfect mixture.”

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