After winning the D2 national championship for their own event, the members of the Barry Varsity Four had about 10 minutes of elation, followed immediately by 10 minutes of tense anticipation waiting for their V8 to come down the course. Plenty was on the line; if the V8 won, the members of the four would also be the overall champions, and repeat champions to boot. "The first half of it is the best experience of your life, because you've just won a national championship and you're at your absolute highest moment," Barry four coxswain Angela Dasch said. "And then the next half is insane and nerve-wracking. You are still sweating from your race, but you have the chills, because you're waiting to see if your teammates can do the same - and they obviously did."
Barry wins the team trophy
"It is almost like you are in shock," said four stroke Sara Rus Alba. "You don't know what to think, what to say. I just texted my family, because they are Spain and are all watching from home, so I was so excited I called them, and told them I'm just waiting for the eight. And I was nervous, because because I feel like we are also part of the eight. We are all together."
"We don't train like this is an eight and this is a four," Dasch said. "We train as, okay, we're Barry Rowing, and we, as a team, want to make sure that we're the fastest team in the country. S, we train like that, all of us together all the time, and then it comes down to racing and you get put in your boats, and then you go and you represent your team."
Since the boats train together, I asked if the four can hold off the eight now and then.
Barry Varsity Four
"When we do pieces, we always have a gap. So, we always try that they don't catch us," Rus Alba said. "And when we can do that, we love it. Those are the best. "
"Their speed is just faster; there's eight of them versus four," Dasch said. "But there's days when you have your bow ball ahead and you can hear them coming, and you're like, we're not going to let them get us. And you go for it, and it's so rewarding, but then when you see them pass you it's like, hell yeah, good for them."
Good for them indeed; the Barry V8 assuaged their four's post-race pre-race anxieties by taking the lead early in the race and showing no signs of flagging down the course as they got out to a 3.5 second lead by the 1000, almost five seconds by 500 to go, and brought it home for a 5.7 second win.
Head coach Boban Rankovic was bursting with admiration for his team after last year's win, and this year was no different, although he admitted it was a different year.
"You can't compare it, it's a different year, he said; "but it's a different awesome year, and what's been great about this year is everybody was coming at it every race, every scrimmage that we had. I was so proud of them, how they responded to that. They responded to those challenges by working harder, staying together, and just showing up at the practice like it's their last day.
"And they had fun with it," he added. "It wasn't just the practices were good; they had fun. They appreciated one another, and that's what makes this whole year so much nice and just so rewarding. Yes, winning is a part of it, but the whole year has been fantastic, and it was challenging in so many ways. So, I'm so proud of them. I'm, again, speechless. Thinking back to two years ago, you always hope for stuff like this, but until it happens you don't know it is possible. And great race with Central Oklahoma and Western Washington. Hats off to them, they pushed us, they definitely pushed us. So, thank you for that."
With that Barry repeats as National Champions; senior Dasch reflected on the past four years.
"Freshman year was hard," she said. "We were supposed to win. We were ranked to win and we ended up getting second. And then sophomore year, we got fourth. And then the past two years it's like a dream. You don't think it's real, and then you get a ring on your finger and you think, okay, I guess this is real."
"This is unbelievable; I still can't believe it," Rus Alba said. "We are seniors, so we are leaving, but I wish we could have the chance to do it again."
Rankovic will miss them as well, and agrees that Barry's squad is special in many ways.
"It is everything about them," he said. "You can't pinpoint one thing. They're so different in so many ways, but they all want the same thing. And that's what it's about. So, again, congratulations girls. Fantastic year, I am so proud of you. Keep on going. We're going to have five seniors graduating this year. We're going to miss them a lot, their big contribution as well. So, you know, keep on going."
In the final points championship, Central Oklahoma took the second place overall trophy, followed by Western Washington for third and Mercyhurst in fourth.
| ||Eights ||Fours ||Total |
|Barry ||12 ||8 ||20 |
|Central Oklahoma ||9 ||6 ||15 |
|Western Washington ||6 ||4 ||10 |
|Mercyhurst ||3 ||2 ||5 |
|Humboldt State ||0 ||0 ||0 |
|Nova Southeastern ||0 ||0 ||0 |
Central Oklahoma took second place