May 29, 2011
GOLD RIVER, Calif. - The Washington women's crew program added an exclamation point to its run at the NCAA Championships, securing an eighth-place finish after a strong performance on the water Sunday.
The Huskies ended the NCAAs with 54 points on the strength of a win in the second varsity eight petite final. Washington used an all-out effort to take control of the race at the 1,000m mark, refusing to cede seats to the Princeton and Michigan State crews closing in fast. After crossing the finish line with a time of 6:35.91, junior 2-seat Sarah Velling pumped her fist while her teammates slumped over their oars in exhaustion.
Trailing the Tigers, Husky coxswain Kelsey Jackson yelled out "red and green cans," which is the same call the Huskies use back home when they're entering the Montlake Cut. Knowing there were about 50 or so strokes left in the race, the call spurred the Huskies past Princeton.
"I think that's really where we committed to taking the race back into our hands," said junior Veronica Tamsitt.
When asked to cap the tournament, women's coach and rowing director Bob Ernst said it was the best racing he's seen his Husky crews lay down at this tournament. While his standard for Washington rowing is higher, Ernst added he couldn't have been more proud of the intensity his teams displayed on the course.
"The J's rowed a great race today. They really came together the last week or so. I couldn't be happier for them," Ernst said.
Brown won the team National Championship with 85 points, breaking a tie with Stanford after the Bears edged the Cardinal for second in the varsity eight final by a bow ball at the finish. California finished third with 82 points.
Ernst said the mission on the final day of the NCAA Championships was to go out and pick up as many points as possible. The Huskies began the morning with a fourth-place finish in the varsity four Grand Final, rowing down the 2,000-meter course at Natoma with a time of 7:17.51. The four, which featured three sophomores, used a move at the 750-meter mark to propel into fourth but were unable to make ground on third-place USC.
Assistant coach Colin Sykes was pleased with how his crew took advantage of a huge development opportunity at NCAAs.
"One of the good things this crew did was build speed through the regatta relative to our competition," Sykes said. "We were pleased with the fact that we had the best race we had all year in the final. They raced from start to finish, no let up." UW's varsity eight took home fourth as well in its petite final, although the boat poured on a furious sprint at the end and nearly pushed past third-place Wisconsin.
The Huskies' time of 6:38.06 was less than five seconds behind Virginia's winning mark, signaling how tight the crews were coming down the course.
The Huskies conclude the season, but it's not the end for Washington rowing. Next week, the men's crew program will attempt to capture a National Championship at the IRAs, which begin on June 2 in Camden, N.J.
Team Points Breakdown
Brown 85, Stanford 85, California 83, Princeton 72, USC 72, Virginia 69, Michigan State 55, Washington 54, Wisconsin 44, Ohio State 44, Yale 42, Washington State 39, Michigan 33, Harvard 17, Clemson 12, Dartmouth 10.
Boating & Lineups
Varsity Eight - Petite Final (6:38.06)
Coxswain - Ariana Tanimoto
Stroke - Camilla Andersen
7 - Erin Lauber
6 - Kerry Simmonds
5 - Madison Culp
4 - Ruth Whyman
3 - Leslie White
2 - Kira O'Sullivan
Bow - Kirstyn Goodger
Second Varsity Eight - Petite Final (6:35.91)
Coxswain - Kelsey Jackson
Stroke - Victoria Nenchev
7 - Haley Yeager
6 - Veronica Tamsitt
5 - Marie Strohmayer
4 - Hanne Trafnik
3 - Skye Pearman-Gillman
2 - Sarah Velling
Bow - Monique Moore