May 26, 2006
WEST WINDSOR, N.J. - The rain came on strong in the afternoon Friday and so did the Washington varsity eight crew.
After a disappointing fifth-place result in a morning heat race, the Huskies' top crew was forced into an early-afternoon repechage. They needed a top-three finish in that second-chance race to qualify for Saturday's semifinals at the NCAA Women's Rowing Championships on Mercer Lake.
The repechage was re-scheduled for 1 p.m. due to expected thunderstorms in New Jersey. That was three hours earlier than originally scheduled and just five hours after the Huskies' 8 a.m. heat race.
The thunder never came, but a persistent downpour began pounding the course prior to the repechage.
"We did a really good job of dealing with the weather," said senior Megan Kalmoe who rows in the No. 4 seat. "We were at home in the rain while everybody else was freaking out at the starting line, trying to get their handles all dried off. We were right at home and really comfortable. It was a really fun race."
The No. 11 Huskies defeated three higher ranked opponents to punch their semifinal ticket. They broke free from a tight six-boat pack 750 meters into the race and led over the remainder of the 2,000-meter course, recording a time of 6-minutes, 23.47-seconds. Runner-up Notre Dame was seven-seats back and Stanford secured the third and final semifinal spot.
"We took a really big move at 750 to get some seats on people. We called that to get out of there and make it known that we wanted to win," said senior coxswain Eva Anderson (Seattle, Wash./Shorecrest) whose crew parlayed the extra race into a positive experience. "It's not just that we won, but that we had a good race. The first race today, it wasn't our best."
Coach Eleanor McElvaine agreed with Anderson.
"We needed to have a really solid, full 2,000 under our belts. To be able to pull away from the pack like that and to even get out to a full length at the finish was a huge victory for them. We'll throw our hat in the ring in the semifinal, but I'm just really happy that they showed good improvement throughout the day today."
Washington's other two crews will compete in repechage races Saturday, but under decidedly different circumstances than the varsity eight which had to stave off elimination. In the second varsity and varsity four competitions, the heat winners advance into Sunday's grand finals. The rest of the field battles through repechage races which are essentially semifinals that determine the remaining four boats for the grand final. All of the other crews qualify for the petite final.
Washington's second varsity finished fifth in its heat, nearly 13 seconds ahead of sixth-place Notre Dame with a time of 6:58.18. Brown's winning heat time was 6:45.47, followed by Wisconsin in 6:48.63, Yale in 6:52.24 and Michigan State in 6:55.89.
Ohio State won the other second varsity heat with a time of 6:54.45.
UW's varsity four placed third in its heat, posting a time of 7:37.50. Brown won the heat in 7:30.17 and Ohio State was second in 7:34.48.
California registered a winning time of 7:25.24 in the other varsity four heat.
The Huskies have a legacy of success in the fours. UW collected the bronze medal last season and won three consecutive national championships from 1999-2001.
This year's varsity four crew is young, with freshman coxswain Sofia Benson-Goldberg (Seattle, Wash./Forest Ridge) directing two sophomore and two junior rowers. This was the first time out of the blocks for this particular lineup that includes two different athletes from the crew that raced at the Pac-10 championships.
"This was my first real NCAA race," said sophomore Ashley Jones (Yakima, Wash./West Valley), one of four in the crew making their NCAA debut. "It's a lot more intense than other races because we are the top 12 schools in thee nation, so you've got a lot to prove here. We're all really new in the boat and we're all really young. We just needed to get the first race done with and under our belts."
The Huskies' success in the varsity eight repechage helped overcome a difficult draw in the heats. UW was placed in a loaded six-boat race that included four of the nation's top-eight ranked crews. Neither of the other two heats had more than two top-eight boats.
The top-three finishers in each varsity eight heat advanced directly into Saturday's semifinals. The remaining crews were forced into the repechage, or second-change race.
The Huskies placed fifth in the heat, nearly six seconds ahead of Stanford. Brown won UW's heat in 6:41.49, followed by Ohio State in 6:43.37. USC and Yale crossed the finish line at the same time, each clocking a time of 6:44.81.
Top-ranked Princeton posted the fastest time over the 2,000-meter course, winning the second heat in 6:32.22. Pac-10 champion California won the third heat with a time of 6:36.79 and Washington State was second in 6:38.59.
After Saturday's semifinal and repechage racing, the championships conclude Sunday with grand and petite finals in all three events.
2006 NCAA Women's Rowing Championships
Friday, May 26, 2006
Mercer Lake; West Windsor, N.J.
(all races were 2,000 meters)
DAY ONE RESULTS
(top three finishers advance to semifinals)
Repechage -- 1, Washington 6:23.47. 2, Notre Dame 6:25.98. 3, Stanford 6:26.85. 4, Tennessee 6:27.61 5, Boston University 6:31.50. 6, Wisconsin 6:31.92.
(top three finishers in each heat advance to semifinals)
Heat 1 -- 1, Brown 6:41.49. 2, Ohio State 6:43.37. 3(tie), USC and Yale 6:44.81. 5, Washington 6:52.99. 6, Stanford 6:58.89.
Heat 2 -- 1, Princeton 6:32.22. 2, Michigan State 6:37.81. 3, Minnesota 6:39.32. 4, Notre Dame 6:44.66. 5, Wisconsin 6:49.50.
Heat 3 -- 1, California 6:36.79. 2, Washington State 6:38.59. 3, UCLA 6:39.28. 4, Tennessee 6:39.82. 5, Boston University 6:48.85.
UW lineup: cox-Eva Anderson, stroke-Courtney Plitt, 7-Jamie Unwin, 6-Sarah Hubbard, 5-Kim Armstrong, 4-Megan Kalmoe, 3-Allison DePalma, 2-Olivia Morrow, bow-Marah Connole.
Second Varsity Eights
(Winner of each heat to grand final, rest to repechage)
Heat 1 -- 1, Ohio State 6:54.45. 2, California 6:56.20. 3, Princeton 6:56.43. 4, Washington State 6:56.71. 5, Tennessee 7:02.49. 6, Stanford 7:02.78.
Heat 2 -- 1, Brown 6:45.47. 2, Wisconsin 6:48.63. 3, Yale 6:52.24. 4, Michigan State 6:55.89. 5, Washington 6:58.18. 6, Notre Dame 7:11.69.
UW lineup: cox-Alysha Koorji, stroke-Andrea Sooter, 7-Cara Troelstra, 6-Kim Kennedy, 5-Charlene Franklin, 4-Karen Magnuson, 3-Corianne Bowman, 2-Ivayla Dermendjieva, bow-Liz Simenstad.
(Winner of each heat to grand final, rest to repechage)
Heat 1 -- 1, Brown 7:30.17. 2, Ohio State 7:34.48. 3, Washington 7:37.50. 4, Yale 7:41.26. 5, Tennessee 7:41.76. 6, Notre Dame 7:45.32.
Heat 2 -- 1, California 7:25.24. 2, Washington State 7:26.63. 3, Michigan State 7:28.96. 4, Princeton 7:33.78. 5, Wisconsin 7:34.72. 6, Stanford 7:35.07.
UW lineup: cox-Sofia Benson-Goldberg, stroke-Ashley Jones, 3-Asiha Grigsby, 2-Taryn Langlois, bow-Erika Sweet.