April 15, 2006
MEDICAL LAKE, Wash. - Gonzaga University rowed what head coach Glenn Putyrae called "a great race," but in the end it was Western Washington University that came away with the Blue Cup at the women's rowing regatta on Saturday at Silver Lake.
The photo finish Varsity 8 went to the Vikings in 6:50.14 with the Bulldogs a stroke behind at 6:50.24. The Gonzaga boat consisted of coxswain Erin Palmiter, Kari Durgan, Sarah Allison, Cory Nelson, Jessica Kocarnik, Nicole Aadland-Lewis, Kelsey Koenig, Julie Smetana and Kelsey Raap.
"They were the faster crew today," Putyrae said of WWU's first Blue Cup win since 2001. "We rowed a great race, and it's not one of those things where I'm going to say if we would have done this or would have done that then we would have won."
The race, on a chilly day that saw periods of intermittent light rain and sleet, saw the Bulldogs hold about a two-seat leading heading into the final 500 meters. But the Vikings began the sprint home and finally caught the Bulldogs, the two teams side-by-side for the final 25 meters until WWU squeezed ahead on the final stroke.
"It was that close," Putyrae said after viewing the finish-line tape. "The team with the oars in the water last was going to win."
Gonzaga won the other five races, including the four-boat Varsity 4 in 7:49.23 with Gonzaga second in 8:01.45 and WWU's first Varsity 4 third in 8:06.29. The winning Varsity 4 boat consisted of coxswain Mimi Refuerzo, Liz Sambach, Jennifer Pierce, Sara Amatuzio and Rebecca Podegracz, while the runnerup boat was comprised of coxswain Joan Aubry, Nicole Aadland-Lewis, Stephanie Murphy, Brianna Morin and Sierra Tittle.
Gonzaga also won the Junior Varsity 8 in 7:00.06 to WWU's 7:05.95, the Third Varsity 8 in 7:03/8 and Both the Novice "A" 8 and Novice "B" 8 in 7:02.46 and 7:32.51, respectively.