Lightweight rowing crowned national champions

Badgers varsity eight wins first ever title

The Wisconsin lightweight rowing team flexed its muscles and wrote itself into the history books Saturday at the Intercollegiate Racing Association National Championships in Camden, N.J. The Badgers became the national champions in convincing fashion after defeating its nearest competitor by more than 12 seconds, the greatest margin of victory by a lightweight rowing team at the history of the IRAs.

No. 2 Wisconsin finished in 7:06.36, beating out No.3 Princeton, which crossed the finish line in 7:18.02 and No. 1 Radcliffe, which came in third in 7:19.04. This is Wisconsin's first national title in the program's nine-year history and it comes on the heels of a tumultuous year that saw a coaching change just prior to the start of its spring season. Former lightweight and openweight head coach Maren LaLiberty resigned from her positions in mid-February.

"The women had the race they needed to have and more," lightweight coach Mary Shofner said. "We're really excited, especially because nobody has ever won a national championship by that margin. It's been a difficult year and a difficult transition for me to come into and for these athletes to make with a new coach. Throughout the year the women have had to be attentive and open to learning new things. We have a lot of women that are recruited; therefore we have a lot of different styles on our team, but today all the pieces came together."

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