Juneau's Andy Dietrick was a member of Oregon State University's second varsity eight boat that took ninth place at the Intercollegiate Rowing Association's national championships held May 31-June 2 in Camden, N.J.
Oregon State's first varsity eight boat took 10th place in the nation, and its freshman eight boat took eighth. Last year, Dietrick rowed in a four that took third place at the national meet.
"IRA's this year was pretty awesome," Dietrick said in an e-mail message. "Instead of having two eights and a four like we did last year, we sent all three eights, marking the first time that has happened in school history. Even better was that all three placed in the top 10 in the country."
Dietrick, a junior mechanical engineering major, rowed in the five seat for OSU's second varsity eight all season. He said the week before nationals was difficult because the team had two serious injuries to OSU's top two boats -- one was a healing rib stress fracture and the other was a back injury.
He said the lineups for the second varsity eight changed every day during the week before nationals, "which makes it tougher to peak for a big regatta and really gel together as a boat. We even had to have one of our coaches fill in for one practice back in New Jersey before the racing started." Dietrick said both injured rowers were able to compete during the national meet.
In the second varisty eight competition, 17 crews from around the nation were invited. The winners of the first three heats each moved on to the grand final, while the other boats in each heat moved to a race called the repechage (which is like a losers' bracket semifinal). In the three repechage races, the top boat moved on to the grand final while the next two boats in each race advanced to the petite final. The six crews in the grand final compete for the top six places in the nation, while the boats in the petite final compete for places 7-12.
Dietrick's boat took third place in its opening heat, then took second in the repechage. "It was our best race of the year for sure, but we couldn't quite nip out Cornell, which won and beat us by three seconds," Dietrick said.
In the petite final, Oregon State's second varsity eight took third place with a time of 5 minutes, 56.22 seconds, good for ninth overall in the 2,000-meter race. Northeastern won the petite final in 5:53.30, followed by Yale in 5:56.04 and OSU.
"We narrowly were edged out by Yale by 0.18 seconds, but were happy we triumphed over Dartmouth, Syracuse and Boston University," Dietrick said. "Cal (California) won the national championship in the second varsity eight, followed by second place Washington and third place Wisconsin. It was nice to see that no East Coast school was in the top three."
"Overall, I thought the second varsity did an outstanding job the whole regatta," OSU coach Dave Reischman said. "They kept their theme for the week, trailing early, and then charging in the last half of the race. They did a nice job passing Dartmouth and Syracuse, and making a big run at Yale before falling about two feet short at the line. This boat deserves a lot of credit for dealing with all the injuries we had for the year, and still having a terrific run."