May 20, 2003
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - Pacific-10 Conference champion Washington was one of 12 teams extended official invitations Tuesday to compete at the 2003 NCAA Women's Rowing Championships, May 30-June 1 at Eagle Creek in Indianapolis.
The Huskies enter the regatta as the top seed from the West Region. Each of the 12 schools vying for the team championship is required to enter crews in three events; the varsity eight, junior varsity eight and varsity four competitions. In addition, four schools received at-large berths to enter boats in the varsity eight race.
The field includes 11 of the same competitors from last season. The only new team for 2003 is Washington State, giving the Pac-10 its largest representation ever. Four Pac-10 schools will send teams to the championships and a fifth, USC, received one of four at-large varsity eight entries.
The rest of this year's field includes, Brown, California, Harvard, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Princeton, Stanford, Virginia and Yale. The other three at-large eights are Boston University, Tennessee and Texas.
The NCAA team champion is determined by combining the results from the three events.
Washington won the 2002 NCAA varsity eight and junior varsity eight championships and was the runner-up in the team standings. Brown claimed the team title despite winning only the varsity four event. UW's varsity four boat placed 10th.
Brown and Washington have split the six team titles since the NCAA began sponsoring women's rowing championships in 1997. The Huskies won national titles in 1997, 1998 and 2001 while Brown claimed the 1999, 2000 and 2002 crowns.
"I think it's pretty darn wide open. There are a lot of strong crews and probably any one of them can win it. We certainly like to think that we're one of them," said Washington coach Jan Harville. "We are going for broke here the last couple weeks to see that we've done everything we can to prepare for the championships."
Despite the fact they didn't win any individual race title, the Huskies won the Pac-10 team championship Sunday at Lake Natoma in Rancho Cordova, Calif. Sixth-ranked Stanford upset No. 1 Washington and No. 2 California in the varsity eight final, ending an 11-year reign for the Huskies in the featured event.
"The sense that I get from the varsity eight crew is that they are disappointed about losing at Pac-10s, but they are starting to already use it as motivation," Harville exclaimed.
Washington won the last two NCAA varsity eight titles. The Huskies return five rowers from the 2002 championship boat, including stroke Lauren Estevenin along with Carrie Stasiak, Adrienne Hunter, Heidi Hurn and Yvonneke Stenken.
Estevenin, Stasiak and Hunter are vying to become the first four-time champions in Husky history. The trio won a national title as freshmen in 2000 on the varsity four crew and rowed in the back-to-back varsity eight winners in 2001 and 2002.
The Washington women's team departs Seattle on Saturday, May 24 and will train in Oxford, Ohio through May 28 before transferring to the competition venue in Indianapolis. The Husky men's team also departs May 24, heading for a three-day training session in Princeton, N.J. The men, including the Pac-10 champion varsity eight, compete at the Intercollegiate Rowing Association (IRA) National Championships, May 29-31 on the Cooper River in Camden, N.J.
NCAA Women's Rowing Championship Field
May 31-June 1, 2003
Eagle Creek; Indianapolis, Ind.
Brown, California, Harvard, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Princeton, Stanford, Virginia, Washington, Washington State, Yale.
At-Large Varsity Eights
Boston University, USC, Tennessee, Texas.