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Gonzaga Rowers Host Head Of The Spokane

Oct. 19, 2006

SPOKANE, Wash. - Gonzaga University's men's and women's rowing teams will get their first outside competition of the season Saturday when the Bulldogs host Washington State University for the Head of the Spokane.

Racing at the Gonzaga Boathouse near Upriver Dam begins at 9:30 a.m.

It's also Parents' Weekend, with Class Day Races at the Boathouse scheduled to start Sunday at 10 a.m.

Director of Rowing and men's head coach Dan Gehn and women's head coach Glenn Putyrae are looking forward to not only the weekend, but the season.

"We're looking at integrating our sophomores into the varsity boat after a great season last year," Gehn said of his short-term goal this fall. "We're looking to build some consistency."

Putyrae has a similar outlook for the weekend.

"It's time to put into a race situation what we've been practicing to figure out what works," Putyrae said. "Plus, the Cougars are tough and it's always a challenge."

Both teams are coming off some outstanding success in 2006. Gonzaga's men's Freshman 8+ finished fourth in the Third Final, placing the Bulldogs 16th overall in the Intercollegiate Rowing Association (IRA) National Championship. The Bulldogs Varsity 4+ took fourth in the IRA, the highest finish ever for a Bulldog boat.

Gonzaga's women's Novice 8+ claimed the Pacific-10 Conference and Western Intercollegiate Rowing Association (WIRA) titles. The Bulldogs also placed their Varsity 8+ and JV 8+ boats into the WIRA Grand Final, both boats claiming third. All three boats captured WIRA titles in 2005.

Gehn and Putyrae are both excited about the competition for seats within their respective teams.

"We have close to three full varsity eight boats," Gehn said. "It's been great competition and the seats are wide open. We've mixed some boats, we've had some heat races and there have been a few surprises."

The Bulldog women also have some battles brewing.

"We have three varsity eight boats and the competition is outstanding," Putyrae said. "We'll race a couple of different combinations this weekend."

Both programs will also look to returning seniors for leadership.

"We have senior co-captains Matt Wernette and David Hinshaw returning, as well as senior Derek Clemmensen," Gehn said. "They will set the tone for the rest of the team."

Hinshaw and Wernette were juniors in the Varsity 4+ last season from a boat that lost just one senior in stroke Connor Barry.

Seniors Nicole Aadland-Lewis and Jessica Kocarnik were members of the Bulldogs Varsity 8+ as juniors a year ago.

"We have some experience, but we also have our freshmen from a year ago that will compete for spots in the top varsity boat," Putyrae said.

As is the case with races at Upriver Dam, racing is done in flights with boats sent off the start line at intervals. Placing is determined by time after all the boats in a class have crossed the finish line. But in a change from past years, boats will be sent down the river at shorter intervals, and there will be less time between flights. The first flight begins at 9:30 a.m. with the last flight to begin down the river at 11:30 a.m.

HEAD OF THE SPOKANE SCHEDULE

9:30 a.m.

No.Boat 1GU MV8 2WSU MV8 3GU MJV8 4WSU MJV8 5GU MN8 "A" 6WSU MN8 "A" 7GU MN8 "B" 8WSU MN8 "B" 9Montana MV4+

10 a.m.

No.Boat10GU WV811WSU WV812GU W2V813WSU W2V814GU W3V815GU W3N816WSU 2N817GU WB418WSU WC419GU WC420SRRA WM821Cd'A WM822Cd'A MM423NIC W2x

10:45 a.m.

No.Boat24GU M3V825GU MN8 "C"26WSU MN8 "C"27GU MV4 "A"28GU MV4 "B"29GU MV4 "C"30Tasca 1x31Russell 1x32Drake 1x

11:30 a.m.

No.Boat33GU WV834WSU W3V835GU W2V836GU WN837WSU WN838GU 2N839Montana WN840WSU W4 "A"41GU W4 "A"42WSU W4 "B"43GU Alum 2-44Cd'A MM2x45Cd'A MW2x46NIC NLW2x