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Husky Rowers Set Stage for NCAA Grande Finals
Release: 05/27/2000
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May 27, 2000

CAMDEN, NJ - The I Varsity won it's semi-final and the II Varsity advanced out of the repechage as the Washington women's rowing team set the stage for championship Sunday with all three boats qualified for grande finals on the last day of action at the NCAA Women's Rowing Championships on the Cooper River.

Racing on calm water, under cool and cloudy skies, Washington's I Varsity used a clean start and a strong move at the halfway mark to pull away and win its semi-final heat in a time of 6 minutes, 26.29 seconds over the 2,000-meter course. The Huskies had open water at the finish on Pac-10 rival California, who crossed next at 6:30.70, followed by Michigan at 6:31.29. All three crews advance to the grande final Sunday afternoon.

Defending champion Brown won the first semi-final in a time of 6:25.79, well ahead of Virginia at 6:29.50 and Princeton at 6:31. 79. They join the Huskies in the championship final set for 11:40 a.m. EST Sunday.

Brown enters the final day of the regatta as defending team champion as well as defending champion in the I Varsity event. Both Washington and Brown's I Varsity boats are undefeated this season and have traded spots as the top ranked team in the country all year. The Bears, the current No. 1 team, are led by John Murphy, who coached the women's novice crews at Washington from 1979-80 before current Husky head coach Jan Harville assumed those duties.

"It's going to be a barnburner in the finals," said Harville. "We get one shot down the race course. If you look at how Brown raced in the first semi-final, it was pretty similar to how we raced in the second semi-final. I don't think it's just going to be ourselves and Brown, but right now that's what it's narrowing down to. We are setting our sights on Brown. They are defending champions and they are the boat to beat right now. If we're lucky, it's going to be stroke-for-stroke all the way down the race course and see who gets the last one in. I hope we're in it."

"Everybody is prepared for it to be stroke-for-stroke even with Brown," added varsity coxswain Mary Whipple. "Their strongest point is the last part of the race, the last 1,000, and that's our strongest point. It's going to be a fun one."

The II Varsity led from start to finish to win its repechage, or second chance, heat in a time of 6:46.20, open water ahead of California at 6:50.60. Both fill out the final two spots in the grande final set for 11:00 a.m EST.

The Varsity Four had the day off after winning its heat Friday and advancing directly to the grande final. The Husky crew, entering as defending champions in the event, are set to race at 10:20 a.m. EST.

The NCAA team champion is determined by a point system, based on a cumulative total from the I Varsity, II Varsity and Varsity Four events. Washington won the inaugural team title in 1997, when women's rowing first became sanctioned by the NCAA. The Huskies repeated the feat in 1998 and then finished third, behind Brown and Virginia, in 1999. Washington won individual event championships in the I Varsity Eight in 1997 and `98 and in the Varsity Four in 1999.

Grande Finals Lane Assignments for Sunday, May 28
Varsity Four (10:20 a.m. EST)
1. California, 2. Virginia, 3. Brown, 4. Washington, 5. Princeton, 6. Boston U.

II Varsity Eight (11:00 a.m. EST)
1. California, 2. Michigan, 3. Virginia, 4. Brown, 5. Princeton, 6. Washington

I Varsity Eight (11:40 a.m. EST)
1. Michigan, 2. Virginia, 3. Brown, 4. Washington, 5. California, 6. Princeton

NCAA Women's Rowing Championships
Cooper River (2,000 meters)
Camden, NJ
Saturday, May 27, 2000

Day 2 Results

I Varsity Semi-Finals
(top three advance to grande final, all others to petite final)

Semi-final 1: 1, Brown 6:25.79. 2, Virginia 6:29.50. 3, Princeton 6:31.79. 4, Boston U. 6:33.50. 5, Syracuse 6:45.39. 6, Northeastern 6:45.79.

Semi-final 2: 1, WASHINGTON 6:26.29. 2, California 6:30.70. 3, Michigan 6:31.29. 4, Radcliffe 6:34.70. 5, Michigan State 6:37.70. 6, Ohio State 6:39.50.

UW lineup: cox - Mary Whipple, stroke-Sabina Telenska, 7-Nicole Borges, 6-Rika Geyser, 5-Vanessa Tavalero, 4-Anna Mickelson, 3-Noelle Anderson, 2-Theresa Nygren-Birkholz, bow-Nicole Rogers.

II Varsity Repechage
(top two advance to grande final) Heat 1: 1, WASHINGTON 6:46.20. 2, California 6:50.60. 3, Michigan State 6:54.89. 4, Radcliffe 6:58.00. 5, Ohio State 6:59.89. 6, Boston U. 7:07.60.

UW lineup: cox-Lara Tilmanis, stroke-Noelle Anderson, 7-Romany McNamara, 6-Kara Nykreim, 5-Erin Becht, 4-Kim Oates, 3-Jenni Vesnaver, 2-Leslie Rattan, bow-Maggie Seay.


Head coach Jan Harville
"It's always a relief when you accomplish your goals. Now we can talk about the finals and now we can get excited about that. Up until then, you take it one step at a time. You can't get too far ahead of yourself. (on rivalry with Brown) We get one shot at them. It's a very healthy rivalry. I have immense respect for Brown and the way they run their program. I've known John Murphy since he was the women's freshman coach at Washington in 1979. We go back a long way.

"Sometimes when you make things bigger than life, you can get more nervous than normal, more excited than normal. Part of being a great athlete is being able to control your emotions. You channel that excitement into positive energy. You keep it positive. That's what all athletes deal with. It's no different than any other sport. It's not life or death, but yes, it's a big championship.

I Varsity four seat Anna Mickelson
"I felt more tired today. I think a lot of people did. I think it's just because it's the second day of racing. Yesterday we were really excited. Today it was more like, let's do it again. Everyone stayed real relaxed. That was the key to doing well today. We just gave it up to each other and were smooth instead of being antsy and tight.

"Jan keeps telling us it's a 2,000-meter race. Brown and Washington have been very similar in our races. They move when we move. We'll just try to hold on for one more stroke each time and we'll be okay."

I Varsity coxswain Mary Whipple
"Again, some people were nervouse today, knowing we had a good race Friday and could we do it again? But we did. Two under our belt, now we'll go for three. We'll make it a habit. We had a really clean start, really clean. The whole race was clean. We executed all our moves and committed to our moves. We cruised it for the second 1,000. We did what we had to do."

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