It might not have been the ideal finish, but it was quite a ride nonetheless for the 2003 Lady Vol rowers.
Tennessee concluded its most successful season in program history with a 16th-place finish in the First Eights competition at the NCAA Championships Saturday in Indianapolis.
The 14th-ranked crew of junior Lizzie Brown (coxswain), sophomore Kaitlin Bargreen, junior Nicole Bold, freshman Lauren Wells, sophomore Chelsea Pemberton, sophomore Dana Forbes, senior Kacey Montgomery, sophomore Melissa DiCerbo and senior Kay Logan battled difficult weather conditions to record a time of 6:32.44, placing them fourth in the First Eights C Final.
Wind gusts near 35 miles per hour made the 2000-meter course on Eagle Creek Reservoir extremely turbulent, while conditions were also very cool as the temperature hovered around 50 degrees.
No. 16 Michigan State took home the C final title in a time of 6:22.99, while Harvard narrowly edged Michigan and Stanford in the Grand Finals and had just enough points (59) to edge defending champion Brown for the overall championship (57).
In addition to earning its first bid to NCAAs in the Varsity 8+, the Tennessee rowing program etched a number of other landmark achievements into the record books in only its fifth season of existence.
The Lady Vols gained their first ranking in the USRowing/CRCA Varsity Eight Coaches Poll, and then climbed all the way to the 14th spot in the final edition of the poll.
They also recorded a significant victory in the Club 8+ at the prestigious Head of the Charles in Boston and swept the varsity events at the Southern Intercollegiate Rowing Association Championships.
And going by the numbers, coach Lisa Glenn and the Lady Vols shouldn't expect to have much of a drop off next year.
Although Glenn has to bid farewell to seniors Montgomery and Logan from its Varsity 8+ boat, her squad will return seven of the nine crew members for next season.
Vols miss cut in return to NCAAs
Despite a sterling third-round effort by sophomore David Skinns, the Tennessee men's golf team fell short of the cut in the program's first NCAA championship appearance since 1997.
Skinns recorded a 4-under-par 68 in third-round play to lead UT to an impressive 295 (+7) third-round score last Thursday at the 2003 NCAA Golf Championships at Stillwater, Okla., but the Vols still finished in 23rd place and failed to make the tournament's 18-team cut.
Tennessee's three-day score of 925 (320-310-295) was 61 shots over par. Top-ranked Clemson, which has been No. 1 in the country throughout the season, won its first NCAA championship with a 39-over par score.
Arizona State freshman Alejandro Canizares (287) came back and defeated Auburn's Lee Williams by two strokes to win the individual title.
Skinns was one of the top six individuals who were not on one of the top 18 teams to make the cut, but who were allowed to play Friday's final round. The Tennessee All-America and British native completed the event by shooting a 299 on a challenging Karsten Creek Golf Club resulting in some of the highest team and individual scores in recent memory for this event.
His four-under par 68 in Thursday's round tied for the second-best individual total for the tourney.