SPU defies the rankings

Konner Hancock

The Falcons varsity eight rowing squad beat the nationally fifth place ranked DII team and snagged third place this past weekend.

Seattle Pacific University voyaged their way over to the University of Washington to compete in the Collegiate Open eight last Saturday at the Windermere Cup Regatta. SPU’s varsity eight team placed third among their competition, while SPU’s second varsity eight crew claimed No. 1 over their competition for the second week in a row.

The team’s head coach Andy Derrick, said he was exceptionally proud of the team’s effort, both the varsity eight crew and second varsity eight.

The varsity eight completed its 2000 meter course in 6:50.16 minutes. That was three seconds ahead No. 4-ranked Western Washington, who earned a time of 6:53.057.

“Full send in the cut.” -Samantha Kimmel, sophomore, exclaims this about the race. Jenna Rasmussen | The Falcon

“I knew we have a special group of athletes and that they were capable of flipping the result with Western Washington from the previous week,” said Derrick. “However, WWU is a very good team, so it would be too arrogant to say we ‘expected’ it.”

The varsity eight was made up of Jacqueline Kemp at coxswain and rowers Megan Chalfant, Kaitlin Dickinson, Gillian Edgar, Shelby Janes, Amanda Larsen, Julienne Renne, Chloe Remley and Suzanne Stafford.

Derrick said the competition between SPU and WWU is close and, “I also will not be the least bit surprised if we both see each other again this season at the NCAA Championships, as part of a very deep representation of the West Region.”

As for Seattle Pacific’s second varsity eight crew, they have struck gold two weeks in a row now. Last week beating out the competition by a wide margin and this past weekend beating out Seattle University’s first varsity eight, UW fourth Varsity eight and Puget Sound’s second varsity eight for first place.

The Falcons second varsity eight was ahead of the second-place competitor by more than five seconds.

“They have done an absolutely great job this season,” said Derrick. “I think their success really shows that we are on the right path in terms of training, team culture and depth with 13 different athletes in that boat and all being successful.”

The crew on deck was Cecilia Krause at cox and rowing was Tamyra Clark-Hoogstrate, Talia Ferguson, Jennifer Hoag, Gracie Hoidal, Danielle Johnson, Samantha Kimmel, Brooklyn Liberato and Madison Simmons.

“The whole team has worked incredibly hard, not know what the end result would be, and it is such a positive that they are seeing their buy-in pay off in such a tangible way,” Derrick said about the second varsity eight.

The Falcons have a week off before they compete in Oklahoma against Central Oklahoma on May 18. However, after that post season kicks off with National Collegiate Athletic Association selection show.

“We set the standards really high this year despite our youth and lack of large senior class.  The team has done an amazing job trusting our staff when we said, ‘if you can achieve this, and do that, you are probably going to earn the right to compete at the National Championship’,” Derrick said.

The Falcons have not qualified to be apart of the NCAA heat’s or Championship races since 2011.

Derrick said the team needs to focus on earning a bit more experience and that The Falcons have the ability to compete well at the NCAA championship level this year.