May 17, 2005
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - Pacific-10 Conference runner-up Washington was one of 12 teams extended an invitation Tuesday to compete at the 2005 NCAA Women's Rowing Championships, May 27-29 at Lake Natoma in Rancho Cordova, Calif.
The Huskies are the No. 2 seed from the West Region that also supplied the championship regatta with California and USC. Each of the 12 schools vying for the team title is required to enter crews in three events; the varsity eight, junior varsity eight and varsity four competitions. The NCAA team champion is determined by combining the results from the three events. In addition, four schools received at-large berths to enter boats in the varsity eight competition.
Washington is one of only four schools to receive invitations to all nine championships since the NCAA began sponsoring women's rowing in 1997. The Huskies are joined in that elite group by Brown, Princeton and Virginia.
Upholding Washington's tradition of NCAA appearances is Eleanor McElvaine, in her second season as the women's head coach after 13 years as an assistant.
"We're really excited to have another two weeks in our season. We're looking forward to using those two weeks to get faster," said McElvaine. "It was really competitive out here in the West, so we're excited to be in the bunch."
The NCAA field includes 11 of the same schools from last season's championships. The only new entry for 2005 is USC which takes the spot occupied last year by Washington State. Along with the three Pac-10 schools sending full teams to the championships, Stanford and UCLA received two of the four at-large varsity eight entries.
The year's complete field of schools vying for the team championship is comprised of Brown, California, Harvard, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Princeton, Virginia, USC, Washington, Wisconsin and Yale. The four at-large eights are Stanford, Syracuse, Tennessee and UCLA.
The Huskies return 17 of 23 athletes from the squad that finished fifth at last year's NCAA Championships. Many are competing in different boats, leaving junior Allison DePalma along with sophomores Kara Farquharson and Sarah Hubbard as the only holdovers still rowing in UW's top crew. The Huskies' varsity eight, which placed seventh at the 2004 NCAAs, is currently ranked 12th.
McElvaine emphasizes the importance of having athletes with previous national championship experience.
"It's huge. The pressure of the NCAAs can be overwhelming if you haven't experienced it before, so we're really excited to have so many returners. A lot of the experienced gals we are taking are pretty young."
In 2004, Brown won its fourth national championship in six years. The Bears, who also captured team championships in 1999, 2000 and 2002, edged ahead of Washington for the most team titles. The Huskies have won three NCAA rowing championships, in 1997, 1998 and 2001.
The Pac-10 runner-up Washington men, including the fourth-ranked varsity eight crew, compete at the Intercollegiate Rowing Association (IRA) national championships, June 2-4 on the Cooper River in Cherry Hill, N.J.
NCAA Women's Rowing Championships Field
May 27-29, 2005
Lake Natoma; Rancho Cordova, Calif.
At-Large Varsity Eights