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COLUMBUS, Ohio Despite opening the day with a one hour delay because of dense fog, the Ohio State rowing team remained focused on trying to win its sixth Aramark Central Region title in seven seasons Saturday in preliminary and semifinal action at Melton Hill Lake in Oak Ridge, Tenn. Four of five Buckeye boats First and Second Varsity Eights and First and Second (Open) Fours advanced to their respective Grand Final races which will begin at 9 a.m. Sunday.

The First Novice Eight will race in the Petite Final Sunday and will contend for a seventh-place finish.

The Top 3 boats in each A/B Semifinal moved on to the Grand Final, with the fourth through sixth place finishers racing in the Petite Final. 

The Buckeye 1V4 took its team-best 11-3 record out on the water and not only did the group of Anniken Ellingsen, Ellen Heister, Claudia Schiwy, Farrah Edwards and coxswain Kristin DiJosie win its opening heat by 12.38 seconds over Notre Dame, but the crew rowed to a 1.3 second victory in the second semifinal heat against Minnesota. In fact, the 1V4’s time of 6:53.8 was tops among both semifinal heats as was their time of 7:09.70 in all four preliminary heats. Perhaps the Buckeyes are still feeling the momentum from their Big Ten title May 2. For the second time in program history, the 1V4 secured a conference title, with its first coming in 2004.

The Second Varsity Eight (10-4) also won its preliminary and semifinal heats Saturday. In opening action, the 1V8 held off Notre Dame by 9.33 seconds (6:28.50-6:37.83) to win the second heat. The crew of Lindsey Titus, Katie Flarida, Claudia Wurzel, Tess Prescott, Erin Shropshire, Caroline McPherson, Ingrid Aasaaren, Sara Wallace and coxswain Samantha Getz went on to best conference opponent Michigan by 3.8 seconds (6:14.5-6:18.3) in the last semifinal heat.

Following its second-place finish (6:08.9) in the third semifinal heat, the eighth-ranked First Varsity Eight (9-5) of Claudia Herpertz, Ulrike Denker, Johnna Burns, Zuza Trzcinska, Peta-Leigh Dakyns, Carolin Helmholz, Susi Herbrand, Charlott Goldstein and coxswain Erika Benford will seek its first Grand Final win at regionals since 2005. The Buckeyes will have their hands full Sunday as they will face three Top 10 boats in their championship quest. In preliminary action, the 1V8 clocked in 2.66 seconds behind heat winner and No. 14 Wisconsin, whose time of 6:19.7 was the best among all four prelims. Advancing to one of two A/B semifinals, Ohio State fell 4.1 seconds short of No. 11 Virginia’s time of 6:04.8 for second place.

The Second (Open) Varsity Four shot out to a 2.74 second win in the preliminaries, beating Michigan, which crossed the finish line in 7:12.04. The Scarlet and Gray’s Mandy Merritt, Sara Reardon, Jill Mohr, Cleonice Renzetti and coxswain Mackenzie Pecor followed that performance with a second-place semifinal finish in a time of 7:11.55. Wisconsin won the second semifinal heat in 7:07.8.

For the second-consecutive year, the First Novice Eight will make an appearance in the Petite Final. The Buckeyes finished fifth in their semifinal heat in a time of 6:40.0. Wisconsin won the heat in 6:32.7. In preliminary races, Ohio State was second, finishing in 6:44.41, 4.91 seconds behind Virginia’s 6:39.5.