Dukes row to finish line first
Published: Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, October 10, 2012 23:10
The Duquesne women’s rowing team started the season with a bang as the Lady Dukes took home the gold in the Women’s Open 8 race on Saturday at the 26th annual Head of the Ohio Regatta.
The chilly and rainy weather on Saturday didn't stop the Dukes from winning the team's fist gold medal in seven years of competition.
Teams of high school, collegiate and Olympic-worthy athletes began at the 40th Street Bridge and continued along the Allegheny River, past PNC Park and all the way to the Fort Duquesne Bridge.
Senior Maria De Iuliis said the race is among her favorites because of the scenery.
“[The Head of the Ohio] awesome because no other race has this city setting with all the bridges,” De Iuliis said. “It’s a gorgeous row.”
Coach Joe Setting was pleased with the performance but said the team cannot stop there.
The Dukes finished with a time of 5:11.78 and beat schools that Setting said were very competitive, such as Marietta and West Virginia. Junior Derin Ongun captained the “A” Boat to victory for the Dukes.
Setting said this race has given him "good expectations" for the rest of the season.
“Our first race and our only home race brought out the competition in us,” Setting said. “What really was exciting is that we won.”
In the Women’s Open 4 race, the Duquesne “B” Boat took bronze with a time of 16:44.19 while the other four boats all placed inside the top ten. Dayton and West Virginia took the top two spots.
Since it is only the beginning of the season, Setting says this race gave him “good expectations”.
“This race is hopefully a good preview of what is to come,” Setting said. “We need to get stronger if we are able to compete with these teams.”
Senior Rachel Ross agreed.
“We have a good chance to stay competitive [this season],” Ross said, adding that at the Head of the Genesee, the team “will be going up against really good schools like Cornell and Bucknell.”
All of Duquesne’s nine boats finished in the top ten of their respective races in the regatta.
Setting said that while the team should be happy with its first win, a great deal of work will be needed to keep up with the ever changing competition.
“They can be happy with the victory but not satisfied,” Setting said. “We are going to have a big target on our back.”
The race was also special because the Rev. Naos McCool came before the race and blessed and dedicated a new boat, the “Jeff Lowe,” in honor of a former Duquesne rowing coach.
The Dukes head to Rochester, N.Y. next Saturday to compete in the Head of the Genesee Regatta where they intend to build on their incredible performance from Saturday. The ladies will face off against Canisius College, Cornell University and many other competitive schools in Rochester.
After next week’s regatta, the Dukes will head out to Moon Township to compete in the Robert Morris Invitational and then to Virginia where the Head of the Occoquan regatta will be held. The fall season will wrap up here in Pittsburgh when the Carlow-Duquesne-Pitt Novice race will take place. The team will then start to prepare for the spring season, which Setting explained is the championship season.