The North Carolina rowing team’s six boats advanced to the grand final this weekend at the Knecht Cup, and two boats took home first place. With this strong finish, the team gained momentum heading into the rest of the season.
The North Carolina rowing team headed north to Cherry Hill, N.J., to participate in the Knecht Cup. The tough competition lasted two days. In order to advance to the second day the team’s needed to qualify in the respective heats. On Saturday, six different boats hit the water for North Carolina, and each single one advanced to the grand finals on Sunday.
The UNC women’s varsity four was the first group to hit the water on Saturday morning for the Tar Heels, and got off to a quick start. The group won its heat with a time of 7:39.58 and advanced to the grand finals.
In addition, the North Carolina women’s frosh/novice four secured first place, with a time of 7:58.95 and beat four other teams in its heat. Also, UNC’s women’s second varsity eight stormed out of the gate early and finished first in its heat, with a time of 6:46.93. Two teams, the UNC third varsity eight and the UNC varsity eight both placed second place in their heats. The UNC varsity eight advanced to the semifinals, where they rowed 6:39.59, which placed them in third place and they advanced to the grand finals.
Lastly, the UNC second varsity four finished third in its heat, with a time of 8:13.43. In this race, six teams advanced to the grand finals, the top-two teams in each heat, and the two additional teams who finished with next best times. Although UNC finished in third place in their heat, they did row the fifth best time out of the eight teams that competed, which allowed them to advance.
On Sunday, all six UNC boats competed in the finals. The UNC women’s frosh/novice four placed second in the grand finals behind Boston University.
The North Carolina women’s second varsity four also competed in the grand finals and finished in third place, with a time of 8:01.02. In addition, the UNC women’s third varsity eight finished its grand finals in third place as well.
The women’s varsity four stormed out of the gate and won its grand final. The boat finished in first place, with a time of 7:32.38, a full 8.61 seconds before second-place Temple was able to finish. In addition, the North Carolina women’s second varsity eight won its grand final as well. The team edged out second-place finisher, Temple, and rowed a time of 6:57.48.
The last group to row on Sunday was the North Carolina women’s varsity eight. In the final, the team finished in 6:49.09, which placed them in fifth place out of six teams.
Who stood out?
The North Carolina women’s varsity four won both its heat on Saturday, and placed first in the grand finals on Sunday. In the final, UNC beat second-place Temple by 8.61 seconds.
In addition, the UNC women’s second varsity eight team also won both its heat on Saturday, and placed first in the grand final. North Carolina edged out the competition and finished with a time of 6:57.48, which was 3.67 seconds ahead of second-place Temple.
When was it decided?
Since all six UNC boats advanced to the grand finals, the competition was not decided until Sunday, the second day of competition.
Why does it matter?
After this race, the Tar Heels return home for the Lake Wheeler Invite, which is their last race before the ACC Championship. Since all boats advanced to the grand finals, the Tar Heels have gained momentum heading into the end of their season.
This is was also the first time in the history of the North Carolina rowing program where all boats have made it into the grand finals at the Knecht Cup. It was also the first time the varsity eight had advanced to the grand final. In addition, it was the first time that both the varsity four and UNC second varsity eight team had won the grand final.
When do they play next?
The Tar Heels will return to North Carolina and participate in the Lake Wheeler Invite on April 26 at 1 p.m. in Raleigh, N.C.
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