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Florida Crew Advance To Grand Finals At SIRA Championship

Florida pulls ahead of Dayton at the last 500 meters of their heat on Saturday. Florida’s varsity four boat with Brittny Ostermann, Melanie Carle, Jillian Sands, Chandler Jolly and coxswain, Jessica Kulenguski placed first in both their heat and semi-final. The boat took home silver in the grand final on Sunday. (photo by Catie Flatley)
Florida pulls ahead of Dayton at the last 500 meters of their heat on Saturday. Florida’s varsity four boat with Brittny Ostermann, Melanie Carle, Jillian Sands, Chandler Jolly and coxswain, Jessica Kulenguski placed first in both their heat and semi-final. The boat took home silver in the grand final on Sunday. (photo by Catie Flatley)

 

OAK RIDGE, Tennessee — Florida Crew returned victorious to Gainesville after a weekend of racing at the Southern Intercollegiate Rowing Association (SIRA) Championship Regatta .

The team’s trailer was loaded at Lake Alto in Alachua County with its racing shells, and ventured off on the 550-mile journey to Oak Ridge Thursday afternoon with high expectations and hopes of placing.

Seven boats were entered to race between the men and women’s teams. Five of which advanced to the grand finals after competing in heats and semi-finals.

The varsity four and novice eight boats took home silver and bronze, respectively.

A few races were cancelled because fog and other bad weather.

“I was heartbroken,” said a 20-year-old Florida rower Ashley Meade “After my practice on Friday I felt confident for once and wanted to prove to my teammates, coach, and family at home watching that I could do it, that I could handle the pressure and win.”

Meade’s event in the woman’s single was canceled as well as Florida’s novice eight final. The poor visibility down the course was risky for boats without coxswains, like Meade’s single to race on.

Florida Crew will travel to Philadelphia for the 2015 Aberdeen Dad Vail Regatta, which will be held on May 8 and 9.

Catie is a reporter for WUFT News. She can be reached at news@wuft.org or 352-392-6397.