FOREST GROVE, Ore. -- The Lewis & Clark Pioneers competed at the Hagg Lake Invitational, facing the No. 8-ranked Pacific Lutheran women's varsity eight team. Their opponents included Northwest Conference rivals Pacific Lutheran and Pacific University, as well as the University of Oregon. The regatta was highlighted by an early win by the women's varsity eight.
After the women's varsity eight pulled off an early win against Oregon, they lost to PLU in the second V8 race. The matchup between last year's fourth-place finisher in the NCAA Championships, PLU, and the Pios resulted in the lowest women's times of the day as Lewis & Clark finished the course in 6.53.31, less than 10 seconds behind the Lutes.
"It's been a really challenging week due to the near-flooding conditions on the Willamette," said head coach Sam Taylor. "We only rowed Monday and Tuesday and have been on land since. Despite that, we felt like it was an excellent first hit out for the team."
The women's second varsity eight was up next, finishing behind in their race by only half a boat length.
Both of the women's varsity four boats took first place in their races, beating two UO boats, and a PLU boat that didn't finish the race due to faulty equipment. The Pios also managed to pull second-place finishes in all of their second varsity races.
In the men's varsity four's first race, they were unable to pull ahead in their field of three boats.
"We had a really good move in the middle," said coxswain Maggie Coit. "We took half a boat length on the boat behind us."
The varsity four boat had a good move around 1,000 meters to let them pull farther ahead. That was the only highlight of the race, as the Oregon boat starting next to the Pios had some issues at the start.
"The other boat clashed oars with us at the beginning of the race and messed with our focus and rhythm," said junior Samuel Makikalli. "It distracted us from the race. We didn't actually see how we matched up with the other boat, so we were excited for the second race."
The men competed again in the last event of the regatta, competing against two University of Oregon varsity eight boats. The race was very tight, with the Pios and one of the Oregon boats almost even at the 1,000-meter mark. Lewis & Clark pulled ahead by a narrow margin to take the win, with a time of 6:34.35, the fastest time of the day.
"Both the men's and women's programs proved very competitive with some rival programs," said Taylor. "We set ourselves up well for the Husky Open in two weeks time."
The Pioneers next regatta is the Husky Open Regatta, hosted by the University of Washington on Apr. 1.