May 28, 2000
Camden, N.J. - Washington's varsity four successfully defending its title and the I and II varsity eights earned silver medals as the Husky women's team finished second overall at the fourth annual NCAA Women's Rowing Championships held on the Cooper River.
Top-ranked and unbeaten Brown won gold medals in the I and II Varsity grande finals en route to defending its NCAA team title. The Bears and Huskies entered the final race of the day - the I Varsity - separated by one point (29-28) in the team standings. Brown's victory in the last race gave it a team total of 59 points while Washington finished the day with 55. Virginia was third with 48 points followed by California (38) and Michigan (34) to round out the top five.
The I Varsity grande final set up a much-anticipated showdown between two unbeaten crews, cross country rivals Brown and Washington, the No. 1 and No. 2-ranked teams in the country. The Brown Bears, who won the event last year, jumped off the starting line and led wire-to-wire, covering the 2,000-meter course in a time of 6 minutes, 37.20 seconds. The Huskies, who were down early, came from behind Virginia and California and made a hard charge over the last 500 meters to finish about a length back in second place at 6:41.10. The Cavaliers were third at 6:42.79 and Cal was fourth at 6:46.50.
"We came up a little bit short against a great crew," said UW head coach Jan Harville. "It was a great battle in the last 500. Maybe it would have been a little closer if we had gotten with the race in the first 1,000. I told the crew I was proud of them. We got a little too far down on Brown to come back all the way. But it was a gutsy race from 1,000 meters on in.
"This championship is all about team and today Brown had the strongest team," Harville continued. "We take our hats off to them. They did a great job. But I am very, very proud of our performance."
"In last 500 I was yelling, `we can still do it, go, go, go,'" added coxswain Mary Whipple. "We were still confident. That confidence brought us to second. We easily could have freaked out but we still fought. We fought all the way. "
The Husky Varsity Four, comprised entirely of freshmen, was successful in its defense of the title Washington won in Sacramento, Calif. last year. Rowing into a slight headwind, the Huskies led from start to finish. Brown stayed even with the crew early but by the halfway point, the Huskies had a one seat advantage. Brown, California and Virginia hovered close. Coming into the home stretch, Washington staged a strong sprint over the final 300 meters and went on to win by open water, in a time of 7:49.00. Brown was second in 7:53.10 and Virginia was third at 7:55.10.
"We knew we were facing the best competition in the nation," said freshman coxswain Anne Hessburg, who was new to the sport of rowing nine months ago when she began college. "We knew we had to go out and push our boat to a whole new level and come out with the best race of our lives. We were completely focused in the boat.
"Nine months ago, if you had told me I was going to be a national champion ... I couldn't even fathom that. It's unbelievable. It hasn't even sunk in yet. I'm totally overwhelmed."
Washington's II Varsity advanced to its grande final through the repechage (second chance), after finishing third in its opening heat, and drew lane six for the final race. Brown, racing in lane four, separated itself from the field early and posted a commanding victory over the field, winning in a time of 6:48.39, an NCAA Championship record. It was Washington and Virginia through the second 1,000 meters before the Huskies surged over the final 500 and crossed at 6:58.79. The Cavaliers were next at 7:00.89.
"The II varsity eight had their best race of the year," said Harville. "They certainly rowed above their performance the last two days. When you have to advance through the reps (repechage) and you come in third in your first heat -- to come back from all that is outstanding."
With its gold medal in the Varsity Four this year, Washington now has four NCAA event titles to its credit in the brief history of the NCAA-sanctioned championships. As a team, Washington won the inaugural title in 1997, repeated the feat in `98 and then finished third in `99.
The Washington men's rowing team now prepares for its national championships, the Intercollegiate Rowing Association Regatta, June 1-3, also at the Cooper River. The team arrived back east Saturday morning and is training at Princeton prior to the IRA, at the U.S. men's national team training center.
NCAA Women's Rowing Championships
Cooper River (2,000 meters), Camden, NJ
Sunday, May 28, 2000
Overcast, slight headwind
Final Team Standings
1. Brown 59*Ohio State finishes 9th by virtue of its higher finish than Harvard in the I Eight Petite final.
2. Washington 55
3. Virginia 48
4. California 38
5. Michigan 34
6. Princeton 32
7. Boston U. 20
8. Michigan State 18
9. Ohio State 13*
10. Radcliffe 13
Grande Final Results
1, Brown 6:37.20. 2, WASHINGTON 6:41.10. 3, Virginia 6:42.79. 4, California 6:46.50. 5, Michigan 6:49.29. 6, Princeton 6:50.20.
1, Brown 6:48.39. 2, WASHINGTON 6:58.79. 3, Virginia 7:00.89. 4, Michigan 7:02.60. 5, Princeton 7:06.00. 6, California 7:07.70.
1, WASHINGTON 7:49.00. 2, Brown 7:53.10. 3, Virginia 7:55.10. 4, California 7:57.39. 5, Boston U. 8:02.50. 6, Princeton 8:17.60.
Head coach Jan Harville
(on the I Varsity) "Brown, Virginia and Cal got a nice lead on us. We had to relax a little bit and start to row our own race. We got taken out of the race early and had to battle back. From 1,000 to 1,500 meters, they were stabilizing and trying to hold them. Then in the last five or 600 meters, you start counting the strokes to the finish line, you can measure things, take the stroke rate up. We aren't going to leave anything on the race course here. We're going to burn it all out with all the afterburners and see what we have left. "You don't always get to have perfection when you compete but you deal with what you have. We've had better starts, so if we hadn't let them get too far away, we might have had a better shot."
Mary Whipple (sophomore, I Varsity coxswain)
"Our start was clean. We were right with the pack but then when we settled, we slipped behind a little bit. They kept moving and moving and we stayed the same. We didn't answer back as quickly as we should have. "A little before the 500, Brown took the lead by about three seats. We matched speed with them for a little while, but they slipped ahead and kept marching up and up. Cal went with them. Virginia went, Michigan went. We slipped back, but we didn't freak out. It wasn't as solid as our first 1,000 from the day before, but it wasn't frantic. No one panicked. A little before the 1,000, we decided we don't want to be here. Cal was the closest at that point, so we went for them first. Brown was at our bow deck, a length up. Cal was probably 3/4 a length up. Then we focused on swing and just dug in harder. We crossed 1,000 and turned it on. We started our sprint a little before the 600, to charge out. The third 500 we pulled even with Cal. Virginia was still even with us, but as we were working off Cal, that just slinged us up in front of Virginia, so they were out. We took it up a few times. We usually have a couple shifts, but we took it up three or four times. We gave it our all and left everything out on the water. It's hard to keep things in perspective right now. We got second, which is very respectable, but people were disappointed. It's hard to look at the big picture right now."
Vanessa Tavalero (senior, I Varsity five seat)
(on her last race) "It was emotional. It didn't really hit me until we were walking the boat in. Then I realized that was it. You have to look at the big picture, not just today. We went into the race fine. Our attitudes were fine. I was excited before the race. I was pumped, ready to go. Immediately, I think about what we could have done to be closer, but then I have to think about the good things we did. I'm just happy I was part of it this season, happy I was here to contribute."
Anne Hessburg (freshman, varsity four coxswain)
"Our eight had great chemistry all season. We worked well together. We had an undefeated season. When we pulled the four out of that boat, we didn't have much time to get it together, but we really worked hard and we have a great chemistry there too. We had a great season as well. "I'm so overwhelmed. We took it a race at a time to get here. We took it 500 meters at a time. It's amazing. It's amazing to be backed by women who have such wonderful experience and talent. I have the best support group in the nation."
Eleanor McElvaine (novice women's coach, coaching the varsity four)
"I've been so proud of this group all year long. They are a special group of freshmen. We have three experienced rowers in the boat, Lauren Estevenin and Carrie Stasiak, who were at junior world championships, so they've been in high pressure situations before. Adrienne Hunter in the bow, rowed for three or four years in a strong club in Canada, so I had a lot of confidence in her. The least experienced one of all - Heidi Hurn - is over six feet tall, very powerful and has really caught on quickly to the sport. She has been surrounded by these other good rowers and also has a little hereditary help, coming from her father (who rowed for Washington). I'm proud of how they handled they stress. We started with a complete novice coxswain, but she picked it up fast. She's very competitive. She is another good example of an athlete who can bring the competitivness and concentration that she has learned in other sports, to rowing. She did a wonderful job. I'm proud of the whole group."
Kim Oates (senior, II Varsity four seat)
"When we were sitting at the starting line, I wasn't nervous. We looked over and our freshman guys team was on the shore yelling for us and Pat, our manager was on his bike the whole way down the course. We took it for the whole entire team. We made calls for the entire team. We were pumped. Whether we got last place or first place, it didn't really matter. We just wanted to row our race and do what we knew we could. We wanted to finish the race and know that we did everything possible we could. We believe in each other. Our coxswain, Lara, was yelling, `I believe in you, I know you can do this' and we believed, she believed, so we started moving.
Maggie Seay (II Varsity bow seat)
"We were really focused. We came off the start with no fear. We weren't afraid to win or lose and we knew we would have a great performance if we kept that in mind. The whole year was great and that's what made this race so good. As seniors, Kim and I wanted to make sure we finished it off proud and know that we came out and finished what we started."