May 15, 2007
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - The University of Washington crew extended an unprecedented 11-year streak today when it was one of 12 teams extended an invitation to compete at the 2007 NCAA Women's Rowing Championships, May 25-27 at Melton Lake in Oak Ridge, Tenn.
For the second year in a row, the selection was a relief for the Huskies who placed third in the team standings at Sunday's Pac-10 championships. With only seven at-large team berths, the NCAA selection committee decided the Huskies post-season fate.
"We are really proud to once again be selected by the NCAA to compete for a national championship," said UW head coach Eleanor McElvaine. "This is our 11th-straight NCAA championships appearance and each year it gets tougher and tougher. As the sport continues to grow, it gets more and more competitive and our student-athletes are so excited to be invited again this year. Fortunately, the NCAA is looking to expand the field to include more deserving teams in the future, which will be really good to see happen."
The field includes eight of the same schools from last season's championships. The new entries for 2007 are Harvard, Minnesota, USC and Tennessee. Each of the 12 schools vying for the team championship is required to enter crews in three events: the varsity eights, second varsity eights and varsity fours. 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 two schools to receive team invitations to all 11 championships since the NCAA began sponsoring women's rowing in 1997. The Huskies are joined in that elite group by Brown, while Princeton has entered at least one individual crew in each championship.
The Huskies are one of three Pac-10 teams to receive a bid, along with conference champion USC and second-place finisher California. Stanford and UCLA's varsity eights will also row in the championship.
The year's complete field of schools vying for the team championship includes Brown, California, Harvard, Minnesota, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Princeton, Southern California, Tennessee, Virginia, Washington and Yale. The four at-large varsity eights are Central Florida Dartmouth, Stanford and UCLA. California has won the last two NCAA team titles, becoming the third team to win back-to-back titles (Washington won the first two NCAA Championships, and Brown won the next two). UW has three NCAA team titles with wins in 1997, 1998 and 2001.
The 16th-ranked Husky varsity eight returns three rowers from the crew that finished ninth at the 2006 NCAA regatta. Senior rower Courtney Plitt and junior rowers Jamie Unwin and Kim Armstrong all return from last year's top crew.
The Husky men's team will also vie for national titles. They will row May 31-June 2 at the Intercollegiate Rowing Association (IRA) championships on the Cooper River in Cherry Hill, N.J.