DURHAM – The No. 14 Duke rowing team is set to face nationally ranked competition this weekend when it heads to Oak Ridge, Tenn., for the Oak Ridge Cardinal Invite on Melton Hill Lake.
Each of Duke’s six boats will compete in two races on Saturday, before concluding the weekend with one on Sunday. The Third Varsity Four kicks things off for the Blue Devils when it goes up against Tulsa and Notre Dame Saturday at 10:42 a.m.
The Varsity Eight takes on No. 17 Wisconsin, Indiana and Clemson at 11:06 a.m. before racing Wisconsin and No. 16 Alabama at 5:02 p.m.
Following the V8 on Saturday morning is Duke’s Varsity Four (11:14 a.m.), Third Varsity Eight (11:22), Second Varsity Eight (11:30) and Second Varsity Four (11:38).
The 3V4 opens Sunday’s slate at 9:46 a.m. against Alabama and Notre Dame. The five remaining boats compete in succession from 10:34-11:06 a.m., each racing No. 20 Tennessee and Navy.
A full list of Duke’s start times can be found here.
LAST TIME OUT
The Blue Devils opened the spring campaign by sweeping all five races at the Carolina Cup on March 6 in Clemson, S.C.
It marked Duke’s sixth consecutive Carolina Cup win dating back to 2017, with the Blue Devils clinching each race by at least seven seconds.
Duke’s 3V8 boat, which featured four freshmen making their spring racing debuts, clocked a winning time of 6:48.7 and earned ACC Crew of the Week honors.
The Varsity Eight posted the day’s fastest time of 6:34.4, besting Clemson’s 6:45.3.
It was the Blue Devils’ first appearance on Lake Hartwell since earning silver at the 2021 ACC Championship last May.
DUKE IN THE RANKINGS
The second Pocock/CRCA poll of the spring season was released Wednesday with the Blue Devils ranked No. 14 nationally.
Duke has held a spot in the top 20 in each of the last 23 released polls dating back to April of 2019.
The Blue Devils were ranked for the entirety of last season, concluding the spring at No. 16.
Duke is one of three ACC teams ranked in the current poll alongside No. 5 Virginia and No. 12 Syracuse.
HOW TO FOLLOW
Live results for the Oak Ridge Cardinal Invite will be posted following each race on HereNOW.
Results at the end of each day will also be posted on the Duke Rowing Twitter account.
Following this weekend’s regatta, the Blue Devils will turn their attention to the Big Ten/ACC Double Dual on Saturday, April 2 in Columbus, Ohio.
Two legislature members are asking Alberta’s chief electoral officer to investigate allegations of potential fundraising violations tied to this weekend’s annual meeting of Premier Jason Kenney’s United Conservative Party.
Todd Loewen, an Independent MLA and a former member of Kenney’s caucus, and Opposition NDP critic Thomas Dang have both sent letters to Glen Resler.
Both are responding to unconfirmed reports that Airdrie-Cochrane backbencher, Peter Guthrie, raised with Kenney on Monday.
Guthrie told Kenney he had heard reports of third parties being offered to have their convention fees paid, along with other inducements, in return for votes on premier-friendly issues at the meeting in Calgary.
Loewen and Dang say they have questions over whether such payments, if made, violate provincial fundraising laws.
Elections Alberta cannot by law discuss investigations it may or may not be conducting.
Kenney, asked about Guthrie’s allegations, says it’s not unusual for some delegates, such as young people, to receive financial support to help them attend the meetings.
“I’m not surprised that political organizations are being involved in a political convention. That’s not new,” Kenney said Wednesday. “Of course, we expect they follow all the necessary rules and guidelines.”
Kenney has been dealing with mounting discontent within his caucus and party over his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and other issues.
Party fundraising is trailing the NDP and Kenney’s popularity poll numbers have plunged in recent months, raising concerns whether the party can win the spring 2023 election with him as leader.
Loewen said he worries the alleged contribution scheme could be used to unfairly tip the balance to vote in new party board members willing to do Kenney’s bidding.
“We want to see fairness in our elections,” Loewen told reporters at the legislature.
Loewen and fellow UCP member Drew Barnes were voted out of caucus in the spring for their criticism of Kenney. Loewen also called for Kenney to resign.
A clash is expected at the Calgary meeting over when to hold the next leadership vote on Kenney. It’s a critical decision. If Kenney were not to win a simple majority, he would be out of the top job.
The vote is to take place in early April at the 2022 annual general meeting in Edmonton.
But 22 UCP constituency associations sent a letter to party president Ryan Becker this week asking that the vote be held before March 1. That would allow members to vote from their home constituencies rather than having to travel to the Edmonton meeting to cast a ballot.
Some of the constituencies said they want the review because of unhappiness over Kenney’s performance.
The 22 represent one-quarter of UCP constituencies — enough to trigger a fast-tracked review under the bylaws.
But a motion to come up this weekend would boost that threshold to 29. The rationale for the motion is that one- third of constituencies should be required to trigger such a consequential vote.
Loewen and Guthrie called the move blatant manipulation and a violation of the party’s grassroots-first ethos.
The party executive and Kenney, however, have said that the motion was discussed, approved and ranked by constituency associations.
“We have a very democratic process,” said Kenney, who added that a change to 29 would mean “a minor change in the party bylaws.”
On Monday, October 25, Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park officially closed for the season to through travel. Many popular driving destinations for this time of year including Bear Lake Road, Moraine Park, Horseshoe Park and the section of Trail Ridge Road along the Kawuneeche Valley, are all open.
Trail Ridge Road is not designed to be an all-season road, with 11 miles above 11,500 feet, few guard rails and no shoulders. Winter conditions of drifting snow, high winds and below- freezing temperatures occur above 10,000 feet. Weather permitting, Trail Ridge Road will remain open to Rainbow Curve on the east side of the park and to Milner Pass on the west side of the park. Eventually, those closures will move down in elevation for the winter season to Many Parks Curve on the east side and Colorado River Trailhead on the west side.
Trail Ridge Road normally opens the last week in May, weather permitting. This year Trail Ridge Road opened on May 29.
Old Fall River Road closed for the season to vehicles on October 4. Trail Ridge Road and Old Fall River Road will remain open to bicycles and leashed pets through November 30. Leashed pets and bicycles are only allowed on the road, not on side trails. On December 1, both of these roads will revert to “winter trail status” which means that bicycles and leashed pets are no longer permitted beyond the closed gates but pedestrians, snowshoers and skiers are.
For more information about Rocky Mountain National Park, please visit www.nps.gov/romo or call the park’s Information Office at (970) 586-1206.
Clockwise, from top right: The 13th at The Quarry, the 17th at The Legend, the 12th at The Quarry, the 3rd at The Legend.
When I relocated from NYC to Minnesota last year, it meant I had the ability to play significant golf in my home state for the first time in seven years. But what courses needed to be on my must-play list? I decided to ask the good people of Twitter.
I was familiar with most of the top in-state options, but I wanted to make sure I wasn’t missing anything. So out went my tweet, and in came more than 100(!) responses. I was blown away by the feedback, and I’ve even checked that thread several times in the past few months looking for new ideas.
But of all the submissions, one resort seemed to pop up more often than the others: Giants Ridge.
I’d heard of Giants Ridge. I heard it was good and I’d heard it was worth the trip, but I’d never actually been there. It’s a decent drive from the Twin Cities, so for whatever reason I had yet to check it off my list. But then came June, and my inaugural trip to Biwabik, Minn., for 57 holes at Giants Ridge’s two courses. (Why, 57, you ask? Well, someone had to buy dinner, so one night included three playoff holes.) What did I learn? Lots. But more than anything — believe the hype.
1. Giants Ridge is about a three-hour drive from the Twin Cities and just over an hour from Duluth, Minn. The Iron Range resort was already a winter destination for skiing and snowboarding, but it wanted to be bigger, and year-round. That’s when Jeff Brauer was brought in. Brauer — with consulting help from Lanny Wadkins — unveiled The Legend course in 1997. The Quarry, also a Brauer design, came six years later, giving Giants Ridge a superb one-two punch for golf-hungry travelers, perhaps the best public combo in the state.
2. The Quarry is 68th on GOLF’s Top 100 Courses You Can Play ranking and the only Minnesota course to make the most recent list. But The Quarry is more than just good, it’s a bargain. When GOLF released its first-ever Top 100 Value Courses in the U.S. ranking a few months ago (the best courses you can play for $150 or less), the Quarry ranked 9th in the entire country. At $79-109, depending on the time of year, it’s an absolute steal. (Check out rates for both courses here.)
3. Building the two courses was far from easy, though. It’s the Northwoods, meaning — yes, you guessed it — it’s wooded nearly everywhere. It’s also filled with sensitive environmental areas, so creating approved routings was a laborious task. The Quarry, true to its name, was carved into an old sand, gravel and iron ore mining site. The Legend is at the main lodge, while The Quarry is located just a couple of miles down the road.
4. Giants Ridge has lodging on site and some other options down the road, closer to The Quarry. It’s logical to stay, since it can be a bit of a drive depending on your location, but they offer great 36-hole deals, too. One from this past summer: 36 holes, plus lunch in between, for $160 during the week and $175 on the weekend. There are a few different restaurant options on site, and the cozy town of Biwabik has some solid local eateries as well. On property, though, The Sleeping Giant Restaurant & Bar, located at the main lodge, was our go-to stop. It’s everything you’d want in a 19th hole — a casual no-frills pub with pool, darts and good drinks; the ideal atmosphere for explaining to your buddies why that 7 on the 4th hole was oh-so close to actually being a 4. (Pro tip: even if the kitchen is closed, ask a bartender if they can toss in one of their pizzas for you. That’s what they did on one of our late nights, and we’re still forever grateful.)
5. Bring a swimsuit! I didn’t, and I regretted it. There’s a pool and huge hot tub on site, which would have been the perfect spot to relax after 36 holes.
6. OK, back to the golf. Two courses, right? Right. Everyone has their preference, and here’s mine. The Quarry, I thought, was the better course, yet I had more fun on The Legend, which is more open, more forgiving and more in front of you. High-handicappers, like this 15 handicap, are more likely to fire a better score at The Legend, and the better golf I play the more fun I have. The Quarry had my favorite hole (the 13th), but the Legend had three others I loved (the 3rd, 11th and 17th). You’ll most certainly shoot a better round your second time playing The Quarry, which might be true with any course but definitely here. There’s a good amount of strategic play that goes into it, with blind shots, several ways to attack holes and plenty of green-side mounding that can help feed balls to certain pins. The greens are big and undulating and missing in the wrong spots is bad news.
Here’s John Kendall, the Director of Golf at Giants Ridge, explaining the difference between the two courses: “The Legend course here is a more traditional Northwoods golf course, where there’s a little wider corridor for players, more rough on each side, more traditional style of architecture,” he said. “There’s no blind shots, you can see every fairway from the tee. Down at The Quarry it’s a little more modern golf course. It fits the rugged, industrial history of that site, and it’s more a golf course that requires some strategy. It’s not just what you see in front of you.”
7. My favorite Quarry holes: After a somewhat easy opener, the par-5 2nd is a great introduction to what you’ll get the rest of the round. The 2nd fairway splits for your second shot, and an opening through the trees will tempt the longest hitters to go for the green in two. The green is massive and everything right will kick left. The 7th is a fantastic downhill par-3 over a waste area to a wide green. The 10th is a short par-4 that will tempt you to hit driver at the green, but you need to clear a pond in the process. If you can take the shortcut, it’s an ideal angle in and only a flip wedge. The 10th is also the start of a dynamite stretch of par-4s. The 12th is a longer par-4 but plays slightly downhill to a massive, bunker-less green, and the 13th is often considered the best hole on the property. The tee shot ranges between 275 to 323 yards with a small bunker splitting the fairway 100 yards out from the green.
The 13th tee shot is downhill but the green — the biggest at Giants Ridge — is elevated and the front is guarded by thick rough, save for a sliver of a mowed path down the middle. From the tee, you can lay up behind the bunker or to either side of it, although the left side has a significantly higher elevation than the right and provides a better look at the green. You can also go over the bunker and try to get as close to the green as possible, but that might also leave you with a tricky chip if you land in the gnarly stuff in front of the green. It’s one of the most fun golf holes I ever played.
8. My favorite Legend holes: The par-4 1st is a handshake opener, and the 2nd is the first of four really good par-3s. The 3rd is a par-5 in which the daring route is to take your tee shot over a massive giant’s foot bunker — one of the coolest traps you’ll ever come across — but if you clear it and then find the green in two, please don’t three-putt for par like I did my first time. The 11th is a short-yet-gorgeous downhill par-3 with water threatening, yet it’s not even the best par-3 on the side. That belongs to the 17th, the signature hole at Giants Ridge, which is a 4 1/2-minute cart ride from the 16th green. It’s a longer par-3 where you’ll need to carry your tee shot over Sabin Lake. The tee box and green are some of the best, most beautiful spots on the property; it’s Northwoods golf at its finest.
9. Bring a rangefinder or GPS watch. There’s no GPS on the carts, so it will come in handy, especially at The Quarry. They have yardage books so make sure to grab one.
10. If you are already going this far north, you might as well make another stop. The Wilderness at Fortune Bay, another fantastic Minnesota course, is just 35 minutes north.
11. Play The Quarry twice. If you are playing Giants Ridge, chances are you are making a trip out of it, or at least playing more than 18 in a day. But if you were to repeat one course, The Quarry might be your pick. Not just because it’s ranked higher, but it has more blind shots and strategic quirks you’ll pick up the second time around, making that loop even more enjoyable.
12. All good things take work. Some of the best golf destinations require a full day of travel, and Giants Ridge, depending on your home base, can be a trek too. But golfers are still coming. The parking lot was flooded with out-of-state license plates when I was there, many of them from the Midwest. A few golfers I talked to go every year. What I found out on my trip they discovered long ago — this place lives up to the hype.
Josh Berhow is the managing editor at GOLF.com. The Minnesota native graduated with a journalism degree from Minnesota State University in Mankato. You can reach him at email@example.com.
Pack a picnic lunch to enjoy along Trail Ridge Road. There are several picnic areas with picnic tables and tremendous views. You will want to plan to eat before 11 or after 1. This way, you will avoid the rush hour crowd and have the time to enjoy your lunch. There are two grocery stores in Estes Park, and both are easy to find.
We enjoy picnicking at Hidden Valley. It offers flush toilets and a picnic area with hiking trails all around. Keep your food packaging closed to keep the ground squirrels from enjoying a meal, as it’s never okay to feed the wildlife in a national park.
Pro Tip: Pack a blanket for your tablecloth.
5. Pack Snacks
In addition to your picnic lunch, you will want to pack plenty of snacks. Peanuts, chocolate, apples, bananas, and grapes make for easy-to-pack and eat snacks. It is also crucial that you pack plenty of water. Drink a lot of water, as it will help keep you hydrated and ward off any potential headaches. Pack your snacks in a day backpack. This way, you will be prepared to hike if you come upon a trail you would like to try. Always take a backpack with you, even if you think your hike will be a short one. It’s always better to be prepared than not.
6. Pack Your Binoculars
Your binoculars will come in handy as you drive Trail Ridge Road. The bighorn sheep and elk can often be elusive, and binoculars will help bring them into view. We have enjoyed watching magpies through the years. This black-and-white-colored bird is always fun to watch. If it’s not flying between picnic tables looking for food, you can find them high up in the greens of the trees.
The Alpine Visitor Center sits at 11,796 feet in Rocky Mountain National Park. This park facility opens mid-morning, and it’s a fun place to stop on your way back from the west side. You can find souvenirs and an opportunity to visit with a park ranger. Park rangers offer guided tours and presentations about lightning and the tundra. If you decide to walk around, be sure to bundle up, as the temperature will be several degrees cooler than here than it is at lower elevations. I recommend a winter coat, gloves, and a hat. It is usually cold and windy on the top of Trail Ridge Road. If you choose to hike, stay on the trails so you do not disturb the tundra.