The University of Rhode Island women’s rowing team competed in the Nordic Nine in Ithaca, New York on Friday and Saturday, winning two out of their five races.

The Nordic Nine was the Rams’ first competition since mid-November after a race at the University of Massachusetts last Saturday was cancelled and replaced with a scrimmage.

Initially scheduled as a one-day event, the competition was spaced out over two days to account for the weather and the hectic schedule of races. The Rams were forced to compete Friday shortly following a 6 1/2-hour drive on what was originally supposed to be a travel day.  Although the change in schedule meant that Rhode Island had less time for preparation than usual, it did not have a negative impact on the team’s performance.

In the first day of action, the Rams were able to come away with wins in two of their three races despite experiencing inopportune weather conditions.  In their opening race, the Rams took first in the Second Varsity 8 by a margin of 2.2 seconds, defeating Boston University and Buffalo.

The following race saw the Rams’ Varsity 4A also come away with a win, beating Boston University by 6.5 seconds and Buffalo by nearly 30 seconds.  In the Varsity 4B, the Rams’ final race of day one, Rhode Island was forced to settle for second as the Terriers finished 14 seconds ahead of them.  As a result of the adverse weather, the races soon fell behind schedule and the Varsity 8 race had to be cancelled due to the delays.

“The weather was extremely challenging,” associate head coach Jessica Lizzi said. “It was like thirty-four degrees, eighteen mile per hour wind, the current was moving very fast because they snowpack had melted.  There was lots of debris in the course and it was mixed precipitation on Saturday so it was as severe of a condition as you could possibly have.”

In the first race on Saturday, the Rams’ Varsity 8 team faced an enormous setback as a fin was torn off of the boat by a submerged log.   The team was able to regain control of the boat and overcome this adversity to finish second, 12 ticks behind Boston University and almost six seconds ahead of Buffalo.

“The current was so powerful when they were coming out of a canal into the open water and the weather was crazy,” freshman Emmy Corace said. “There was freezing rain and hail and the current shoved the boat towards shore and then they hit a barely sunken log that knocked the fin right off the boat.  They had no steering anymore so the coxswain had to kick it into high gear and tell the rowers how to row with pressure in order to steer the boat away from shore and still keep up with the race.  So they were actually able to steer the boat and complete the race.  It was a really great job on Lucy [Moyes], the coxswain’s part.”

The Second Varsity 8 team was unable to duplicate their success from Friday and finished last in a race with No. 20 Cornell and Penn, trailing Cornell by 18 seconds and Penn by 13.

Two crews sank in a subsequent race that did not involve the Rams, leaving rowers in the water as the conditions continued to deteriorate and forcing the remaining races to be cancelled.

“The positive energy was amazing and the results were fantastic,” Corace said.  “The downside was that we didn’t get to do the races that we wanted to on Saturday morning because of the weather, but we performed great and we now have a good baseline of where we are and where we need to get to for the next races coming up.”

The Rams will next travel to Sacramento where they will be one of nine schools competing Saturday and Sunday in the Natoma Invitational.

“We basically took charge of the controllables and did the best we could given the scenario, so we’re really proud of how the team rowed this weekend,” Lizzi said.  “The good part about this is we’ll actually have an opportunity to race Boston University again on the 25th, so that will give us a better idea of the real margin between the two programs versus some catastrophic event happening to skew the margins.”