Pro Hockey News

Sunday, May 28, 2023

JU Women's Rowing Finishes 2023 Season In Historic Fashion

 CHERRY HILL, N.J. ( - The Jacksonville Women's Rowing team completed their historic 2022-23 season at the NCAA Championships on Sunday.

"The NCAA's is an amazing event because we witness the highest caliber of athletes in the country, and in some cases, in the world. Having Jacksonville University represented alongside those women is incredible. We had a historic performance, not only for JU but also for the MAAC Conference. It was the best finish ever at the Championship. I'm excited to see what Jacksonville and the MAAC will do moving forward."

On the third day of impeccable conditions, today's weather may have taken the cake in terms of quality. Slight overcast and little to no wind led to honest racing conditions. 

The Dolphins' Varsity Four put together the best performance by a boat at the NCAA Championship in program history. Throughout the weekend, they continued to climb and beat boats, and the outcome was no different in the 'D' final. In a back-and-forth race, boats from Northeastern, Jacksonville, and Navy competed for the top spot for most of the course. 

As the race entered the final 500 meters, Northeastern had a slight edge in the top spot, leaving Jacksonville and Navy to duke it out in the remaining stages of the race. The two boats alternated second place with every stroke, but the Dolphins' final sprint proved to be enough to overtake two boats in the final and claim the highest finish a JU boat has ever had. 

To top it all off, Jacksonville's time of 7:54.256 was seven seconds faster than Gonzaga's time in the 'C' final.

"I couldn't be prouder of the Varsity Four," said head coach Mike Lane. "Their performance here was historic, beating two teams and just barely missing out on that 'C' final. I couldn't be prouder of those kids, and it's a great testament to the depth we have in our program."

The Dolphins' Second Varsity Eight continued to make history by beating a boat in the final for the first time in program history. Seeded in the 'D' final against Gonzaga, Northeastern, and Navy, all four boats were in a tightly contested race all the way to the finish. 

As the race progressed, Gonzaga began to pull ahead slightly, followed by Northeastern. As the boats pushed towards the final stages of the race, Navy and Jacksonville battled it out for third place, with Jacksonville striving for history. As JU entered the final 250 meters or so, their sprint propelled them ahead of the Midshipmen, and with the gained momentum, they rowed across the finish line just under seven seconds ahead of Navy.

"Our JV8 are a bunch of fighters. They've been scrappy all year long and pushing our 1V all year long. Today, they showed that fight. Them and Navy battling down the course, beating one boat is a huge deal, and again, I'm really proud of the effort they put in."

The First Varsity Eight faced some of the fastest boats in the country throughout the weekend, and the trend continued into the final. Racing against teams from Gonzaga, Navy, and George Washington, the Dolphins jumped out of the gates at full speed and found themselves in the heat of the battle through the first 100 meters. As the race progressed, Gonzaga began to pull away, followed by Navy and George Washington, resulting in the Dolphins finishing fourth in their respective final.

"The 1V had a tough race, but that's the highest level of competition we encounter here," said Lane. "Those guys didn't give in or give up, and I'm proud of their character. We have great leadership in that boat, and some of them are leaving because of graduation and they're going to be hard to replace."

While the 2022-23 season has concluded, Jacksonville continues to be on the rise in women's rowing. This includes consecutive years of sweeping the MAAC and consistently getting faster at the NCAA Championship and eventually making history by beating out four total boats in this year's final."It was a great year, I mean you can't beat a Championship, winning every event, getting to the NCAA's, beating boats," said Lane. "I've been doing this for 25 years and this is by far my best year ever. Not only because of the results but because of the amazing women that I had the privilege of coaching."