TOKYO, Japan – Williams College alum Kristi Kirshe and the U.S. women's ruby 7s Friday overcame a 12-point deficit to earn a 14-12 win over Australia.
In the first half Australia managed to keep the USA bottled up inside its own 22 and that created a short try opportunity for the Aussies. Australia took a 7-0 lead into halftime. Early in the second half, the Aussies scored again, but this time the conversion failed and Australia led 12-0.
The remainder of the second half was a much different story as the USA was able to open up its passing game and use their size advantage to climb back into the contest.
Cheta Emba powered her way in for a try with 4:09 remaining, and Nicole Heavirland was successful on the conversion kick and the USA’s 12 point deficit was now down to five points. Australia struggled to create any offense as the size and speed of the USA team continued to wear the Aussies down.
On a late Australia possession inside its 22 2017 Williams graduate Kirshe got a hand on a pass intended for an Australian player, and the USA’s Abby Gustaitis collected the deflection and scored a try to tie the game at 12. With another successful conversion by Nicole Heavirland, the USA had come all the way back on Australia and assumed a 14-12 lead with just 2:43 remaining in the contest.
Australia tried to respond, but again the size and speed of the Americans kept the Aussies pinned deep in their own territory for the remainder of the contest, enabling the Eagles to emerge as the group winner with a 3-0 record.
Date, time and opponent for the USA in the knockout rounds is being delayed as inclement arrived in Tokyo halting the final rounds of Group Play.
TOKYO – Williams College alum Tala Abujbara, who never rowed before arriving at Williams College from Qatar, won the Final E at the Tokyo Olympic Games by open water.
Racing on the Sea Forest Waterway in Tokyo, Abujbara took a small lead of .02 the 500-meter mark over Kathleen Noble from Uganda and she continued to methodically expand that lead. When she reached the 1,000-meter mark, she had opened up a lead of 2.14 seconds, and before she reached the 1,500-meter mark she had assumed a significant open water lead and her 5:59.97 was 3.85 better than Noble.
Not letting up, Abujbara finished well in command with a time of 8 minutes, .22 seconds, producing a 6.78 seconds margin of victory over Uganda’s Noble. With the Final E win Abujbara secured a 25th place finish overall in a field of 32 rowers in the single scull competition.
It was an Olympics Abujbara is likely to forget any time soon as she is the first woman single sculler to represent Qatar in the Olympics. While at the Olympic Games she celebrated a birthday and she was previously honored as she was selected as one of two Qatari athletes to carry the Qatari flag in the Opening Ceremonies.
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