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CHARLOTTESVILLE – The Virginia rowing team competed in a scrimmage against Michigan State on Saturday (March 12) in Marion, Va.

UVa’s Varsity Eight won five out of five three-and-a-half minute pieces against the Spartans, while the Second Varsity Eight won four out of five.

“They were some very competitive pieces,” UVa head coach Kevin Sauer said. “It was good to race against somebody else for the first time this year. We’re very respectful of Michigan State’s program and they always do a good job. It was great to come here and practice and race, we’ve done it for the last five years and it’s a great experience.”

Virginia’s varsity fours won three out of four and the Novice Eight won three out of four. In the Novice Four, UVa won five of five pieces.

Following the weekend scrimmage, UVa’s season begins with races against West Coast powers Stanford (March 26) and California (March 27) at Redwood Shores, Calif.

Last season, Virginia was crowned the overall NCAA Champion and won the national title in the Varsity Four.

The Cavaliers competed in the Head of the Charles, the Princeton Chase and the Rivanna Romp during the fall. Senior Claudia Blandford (Winnipeg, Canada) and juniors Sarah Borchelt (Sterling, Mass.) and Martha Kuzzy (Minneapolis, Minn.) were recently named captains for the 2011 season.

Virginia’s Kevin Sauer returns for his 16th season as the head coach of the Cavalier rowing program in 2011. He was the 2010 Collegiate Rowing Coaches Association (CRCA) National Coach of the Year after guiding UVa to the national championship. Associate Head Coach Steve Pritzker returns for his 8th season and was named the the National Assistant Coach of the Year in 2010.

Michigan State’s Varsity Eight won the petite final and the Spartans finished ninth out of 16 teams at the 2010 NCAA Championships.

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