Jan. 31, 2012
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By Mike Garabedian
ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - UCF is gearing towards the spring where they will face the majority of their opponents including races in Texas, Rhode Island and Indiana.
The Knights opened the 2011-2012 season strong in Chattanooga by placing both "A" boats in the top five. UCF put together another impressive performance, finishing 23rd in the Championship Eight Women's Event at the Head of the Charles. UCF concluded the fall season with a sixth-place finish at the Head of Hooch from their Women's Championship Eight "A" boat, who recorded a season best time of 16:30.0
Recently, head coach Becky Cramer discussed the team's performance during the fall and gave Knights fans a preview of what to expect starting this March.
What is your take on the how the team performed in the fall?
"It went okay. We came back ready to go. The team trained really hard over the summer and they worked really hard through the fall. The results at the end of the season weren't exactly what we were looking for, we were a little disappointed but it definitely wasn't for lack of effort. It didn't pan out on the day we needed it to pan out."
How was the experience of participating in the Head of the Charles, the world's largest regatta?
"At the Charles we were really happy about our performance. We did well, landing in the top 25. We were proud of our performance, and we raced hard. They left it all on the water and you could really see the hard work over the summer pay off. I told them if they work hard and can do this on the first week of school, then I'll take you and they brought it."
Being the last race of the fall, what did the team take away from the Head of the Hooch regatta?
"As we got to the Hooch, things had been going well but we didn't peek at the right time and that's exactly what happened. Remember, our ultimate goal is conference and the fall is a stepping stone towards the conference championship. While the Head of the Hooch didn't go exactly how we liked, it was still a big step forward towards our ultimate goal."
Who are the team leaders that have been emerging this season?
"There are a lot of people stepping up and on any given day, someone else is rising to the top. This is a very competitive squad and that's what we want to see. Two days ago, one of our freshmen was sitting in the number one seat and one of our seniors looked over and was like, `I need to step up.' There are a lot of players emerging on the team, not just one or two."
Are there any newcomers or freshman to keep an eye on?
"Kayla Thieken and Ginni Dunlop have been doing a great job. Annie Thompson has been great but she has an injured shoulder right now and we don't know when she'll be healthy. She is very motivational, so she is definitely supporting the team from her position."
How have the additions of Marc DeRose and Tracey Tallman helped this team?
"Tracey and Marc have been great. We are a much more cohesive staff and therefore a much more cohesive team. As we have been talking in practice, our goal is to be greater than the sum of our parts, as a team and as a coaching staff. I think we complement each other well, work hard and we all bring something to the table. I see us together for a long time."
Which races are you looking forward to the most?
"Tennessee at home on March 24th. They were second in the conference last year and we have them at the boat house. In terms of our tough races, Tennessee at home is going to be huge. We also travel to Rhode Island for the first time ever and will be racing Boston University, Rhode Island and Alabama. The Longhorn Invitational will test us with Texas, SMU and Oklahoma early on in the year."
What is the team's goal for the upcoming season?
"Our team goal is to be top three or better. Hopefully better."