No. 17 Indiana rowing earned fourth place in the Big Ten Championships with 115 points on Sunday at Eagle Creek Reservoir in Indianapolis. No. 9 Ohio State won the conference championship with 184 points. No. 6 Michigan and No. 18 Rutgers rounded out the podium to take second and third place with 174 and 137 points, respectively.
Before the regatta, head coach Steve Peterson said he was excited to see how Indiana would fare against what he called the toughest competition of the season.
“Obviously, this is a major focal point of our season,” Peterson said. “All the Big Ten teams are solid programs, and it's a great opportunity for our athletes to get the chance each year to race against some of the top collegiate rowing programs in the country.”
The Hoosiers struggled in the early heats, finishing fifth in the First Novice Eight, First Varsity Four and Second Varsity Four races and sixth in the Third Varsity Four race. Indiana failed to place in the top half of the eight-team races until they placed fourth in the second to last race of the day, the Second Varsity Eight. Despite the slow start, Indiana was able to come back and fight their way to a fourth place team finish.
"The success of the team today is totally attributed to the hard work we have put into this season from day one,” Indiana senior Laura Feinson said. “We could not have done this if it wasn't for everyone, every day giving it their all to push themselves and others. I could not be prouder of my team and how they raced today."
The best performance of the day for Indiana came in the final heat of the day, the First Varsity Eight race. There, Indiana jumped out to an early lead through the first 500 meters but fell back to the middle of the pack as Ohio State and Michigan began to pull away.
At the halfway point of the race, Indiana was in third place with Rutgers quickly closing in. The race came down to a photo finish and the Hoosiers were able to hold off the Scarlet Knights to take third by less than three tenths of a second.
“The last 500 meters were about leaving everything we had on the course. (Sophomore coxswain Katherine Nelson) told us that we were three seats down and the boat knew that we had to go,” Feinson said. “Holding off Rutgers wasn't easy, but we trusted our strength, training and just how badly we wanted that medal in the end. Coach Peterson told us before we launched to ‘have no regrets,’ and that is exactly how we raced today."
Next, Indiana will wait until Tuesday to see if they are selected for the NCAA D1 National Championships taking place later in the month. The selection show will take place on the NCAA’s website starting at 5 p.m.