CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. - The Duke rowing team sent a trio of novice boats into action Saturday at the Head of the Hooch in Chattanooga, Tenn., with each boat coming away with a top-10 finish.
“We are really happy with all three boats’ finishes at the Head of the Hooch this weekend, especially a first place medal in the 4+,” assistant coach Kendall Schmidt said. “Our first-year rowers—both recruits and walk-ons—represented Duke and the rest of their team well.”
Duke’s two novice 4+ boats kicked off competition first Saturday morning, with the Blue Devils’ top crew earning a first-place finish. Duke’s A boat of coxswain Sarah Royka, Payton Fraser, Stella Haley, Meera Chakrabarti and Kelsey Lackey finished with a time of 17:03.269 to earn the top spot in a field of 26 boats.
The Blue Devils’ B boat was not far behind, placing fourth to also earn a top-five finish. The crew of coxswain Lauren Burgett, Callie Turner, Ella Harris, Julia Murphy and Hannah Ferry clocked a time of 17:40.733 to round out the novice 4+ competition for Duke.
Closing out the day for the Blue Devils was the novice 8+ boat, which earned a sixth-place finish. The crew of Sarah Royka, Payton Fraser, Ella Harris, Callie Turner, Hannah Ferry, Alina O’Brien, Leonie Kurzlechner, Julia Murphy and Megan Knauer clocked out at 16:43.306, finishing behind only the boats of Clemson, Louisville, UNC and Eastern Michigan.
“It was a solid start to their first season as Blue Devils and a great place to continue building from,” Schmidt added. “It is really special to be able to travel and race with just your class. They came together both on and off the water.”
The Blue Devils will return to action next weekend, traveling to Charlottesville, Va., to compete in the Rivanna Romp on Sunday, Nov. 11. Next weekend’s race will mark the conclusion of the fall season for the Duke rowing squad.