May 31, 2002
INDIANAPOLIS - Washington's varsity and second varsity boats registered impressive heat victories Friday while the varsity four placed fourth in its heat during the first day of the NCAA Women's Rowing Championships at Eagle Creek Park.
The championships continue Saturday with semifinals and conclude with Sunday's finals. The Husky second varsity (previously known as junior varsity) earned an automatic berth into the championship race by virtue of its heat victory. The varsity eight and four boats vie for finals berths during semifinal competition.
The team champion is determined by a combination of results from the varsity eight, second varsity and varsity four competitions. Top-ranked Washington captured its third team title last spring by virtue of first-place performances by the varsity eight and varsity four and a runner-up effort by the second varsity.
Washington's defending champion varsity eight crew staged a brilliant first-round performance, winning by two boat lengths in the first of three heats. The Huskies erupted out of the blocks, opening an almost instant two-seat lead.
"We are a very good, efficient crew at starts," explained senior coxswain Mary Whipple. "We came into this regatta knowing that we are the target. Everyone wants to defeat the defending champions. Coming into this race we didn't care what did last year because this is a new year."
The five other boats in the heat were not the only victims of the rapid start by the Huskies' varsity eight. The boat holder, a person stationed at the starting line to hold the stern until the race begins, fell forward into the water when the shell surged forward at the start. The Washington rowers observed the fall, but concentrated on the task at hand and moved out to an open water advantage by the 600-meter mark.
The undefeated Huskies cruised the rest of the way, completing the 2,000-meter course two boat lengths ahead of runner-up Harvard with a time of 6:47.20. The Crimson finished in 6:54.20 and Virginia secured the third automatic semifinal berth with a time of 6:54.90. All varsity eight boats finishing behind the top three in each heat competed in a repechage Friday afternoon to determine the final three qualifiers for the 12-team semifinals.
Washington was competing for the first time in its brand new Pocock shell, a replacement for a similar boat that was damaged during a fall off the trailer in transit to Indianapolis.
The UW's second varsity eight started fast before relinquishing the lead to Ohio State midway through the race. Washington overtook the Buckeyes with a sprint with 650 meters remaining and then held off a late surge by Yale to win by two seats with a time of 7:09.89. Yale finished second in 7:10.20 and Ohio State was third in 7:14.62.
The victory kept the second varsity's perfect record intact and was even more impressive considering the UW was not only battling five other crews, but also a strong wind.
"It was pretty much a water fight out there. Coming during a cross-wind with whitecaps is tough conditions to row in," said UW Coach Jan Harville. "You're fighting the crews that you are racing against and then you fight the water too, so you really have two battles going on. They got off the water and they were feeling pretty tired. They did what they needed to do today."
The wind increased in intensity for the final race of the first round, the varsity four event.
With boats swerving an uneven course down their lanes due to the heavy winds, Washington opened a boat-length lead at the start. UW maintained the margin until the halfway point when Harvard took control en route to a winning time of 8:04.69. Michigan State was a distant second in 8:13.88 and California nipped the Huskies for third in 8:19.19. The Huskies clocked an 8:19.33 to outpace fourth-place Ohio State's time of 8:23.00
"The wind was blowing us everywhere. We were hitting the buoys every stroke basically and I got caught in them a couple times," said sophomore Nicole Mazikowski. "It was just unbelievable with wind going everywhere and water splashing everywhere. All of us were soaked from it. You could feel the gusts blowing at you. You are trying to go so hard and so fast, but it's like something is stopping you and you have no control over it. I don't think we have ever raced in anything like this."
The Huskies, who won the last three NCAA varsity four championships, must advance through Saturday's semifinals to put themselves in position to defend their title.
NCAA WOMEN'S ROWING CHAMPIONSHIPS
May 31, 2002
Eagle Creek Park; Indianapolis, Ind.
Varsity Eight (top 3 to semifinals, rest to repechage)
Heat I -- 1. WASHINGTON 6:47.20. 2, Harvard 6:54.20. 3, Virginia 6:54.90. 4, Syracuse 6:55.70. 5, Washington State 6:56.30. 6, Michigan State 7:03.30.
UW Lineup: cox-Mary Whipple, stroke-Lauren Estevenin, 7-Annabel Ritchie, 6-Anna Mickelson, 5-Heidi Hurn, 4-Adrienne Hunter, 3-Carrie Stasiak, 2-Kara Nykreim, bow-Yvonneke Stenken.
Heat II -- 1, Brown 6:49.20. 2, Yale 6:53.40. 3, Stanford 6:53.43. 4, USC 6:56.80. 5, Notre Dame 7:05.70.
Heat III -- 1. Ohio State 6:51.60. 2, Princeton 6:53.00. 3, California 6:56.50. 4, Michigan 7:04.70. 5, Cornell 7:09.60.
Second Varsity Eight (winner to final, rest to semifinals)
Heat I -- 1. Brown 7:10.45. 2, Virginia 7:13.93. 3, Princeton 7:16.80. 4, Michigan State 7:17.55. 5, California 7:21.69. 6, Harvard did not finish.
Heat II -- 1. WASHINGTON 7:09.89. 2, Yale 7:10.20. 3, Ohio State 7:14.62. 4, Michigan 7:23.50. 5, Stanford 7:26.69. 6, Syracuse 7:30.75.
UW Lineup: cox-Anne Hessburg, stroke-Jenni Vesnaver, 7, Jessica Harm, 6, Shannon Oates, 5, Erin Becht, 4, Sanda Hangan, 3, Marghe Pallotino, 2, Erin Curry, bow-Mandy Nelson.
Varsity Four (winner to final, rest to semifinals)
Heat I -- 1. Brown 8:02.78. 2, Virginia 8:07.66. 3, Yale 8:10.59. 4, Michigan 8:13.63. 5, Princeton 8:13.76. 6, Syracuse 8:35.45.
Heat II -- 1. Harvard 8:04.69. 2, Michigan State 8:13.88. 3, California 8:19.19. 4, WASHINGTON 8:19.33. 5, Ohio State 8:23.00. 6, Stanford 8:33.15.
UW Lineup: cox-Maili Barber, stroke-Karen Etsell, 3-Mary Reeves, 2-Nicole Mazikowski, bow-Lisa Krikava.