May 27, 2005
RANCHO CORDOVA, Calif. - All three Washington entries successfully advanced through first-day heats Friday, including the varsity four crew that won its race to earn an automatic berth into Sunday's grand final at the NCAA Women's Rowing Championships on Lake Natoma.
The championships continue Saturday morning with semifinal and repechage races before concluding with Sunday's finals. The Huskies' 13th-ranked varsity eight crew finished third in its heat and will compete in Saturday's semifinals. The UW junior varsity eight placed fifth in heat racing and will row a repechage.
The Huskies won the second of two heats in the varsity four event and will join the other heat winner, Virginia, in the six-boat grand final. The other four spots will be determined during repechage racing Saturday.
"Most of us are so happy that we don't have to go to the reps," said coxswain Katie Peyer, a senior from Kentwood (Wash.) High School. "It's really great. We don't have to sit through the heat again tomorrow. We don't have to race our brains out again. It's really nice to get a day off just to relax."
Virginia is the defending national champion in the fours and Washington claimed the silver medal in 2004. The Huskies won three consecutive varsity four championships from 1999-2001.
Washington's four completed the 2,000-meter course in 7-minutes, 25.22-seconds. The Huskies walked past early leaders Wisconsin and USC, taking over at the 500-meter at which point just one second separated the top-four crews. UW and Wisconsin pulled away from the pack and were nearly even at 1,000 meters before the Huskies surged ahead by six seats in the third 500.
In the final quarter of the race, California sprinted from fourth to second in the outside lane to finish two seats back of the Huskies. The Golden Bears had a second-place time of 7:26.98, Wisconsin was third in 7:27.58 and USC faded to fourth in 7:32.49.
The impressive first-place varsity four showing was an unexpected result for the Huskies. They had lost the Pac-10 title by open water to USC two weeks earlier at the same venue. UW's lineup underwent one seat change and added one new rower to the crew that competed at the conference championships.
"They were the most determined to win the heat. They were the most determined to say `We're the boat that's going to go directly to the final, the rest of you guys can go duke it out in the reps.'" head coach Eleanor McElvaine exclaimed of her varsity four. "We're really proud of them. It shows the depth of our team."
McElvaine was also pleased with the Huskies' result in the varsity eight event, although she knows they can row better.
"Our first goal in the morning race was to make the top three, to go directly to the semifinal and not have to race in the afternoon. So we achieved that. We're not really happy with the race. We just didn't settle into a very good rhythm. That's a little bit nerves and hopefully we've got that out and we'll be ready to go a little bit better Saturday."
Washington competes in the varsity eight semifinals and needs to finish in third place or better to earn a berth in the grand final.
The Huskies rowed in the pivotal third-place position the entire race with Michigan State a close fourth. UW fended off repeated challenges from the Spartans before increasing its margin to seven seats during the final 500 meters.
"The goal is to qualify for the next step which is the semis. We accomplished that goal," said varsity coxswain Dana Ryan (LaJolla, Calif.). "It wasn't perfect, but we did what we needed to do. Obviously we did not want to come back out here, especially at 4 o'clock. It's hot and it just makes it that much harder to race tomorrow. We're very happy to go straight into the semifinals."
The Huskies' heat resembled the Pac-10 Championship race two weeks earlier on the same course. Top-ranked California posted a winning time of 6:26.08. Eighth-ranked Stanford placed second in 6:31.35 and UW was third in 6:33.49. The Bears are the only varsity eight crew in the 16-team field that has not lost this season. The last crew to go undefeated en route to the national championship was Washington in 2002.
Second-ranked Yale had a time of 6:22.06 to beat the field in the first heat, a race in which defending champion Brown placed third and USC fifth. The Trojans were third-place Pac-10 finishers. Fourth-ranked Princeton won the second heat with a time of 6:21.00.
UW's junior varsity eight recorded a time of 6:48.54 to finish fifth in its heat. Virginia won the heat in 6:38.15 followed by Brown (6:43.11), Michigan State (6:43.79) and Yale (6:43.82). Princeton finished over three seconds behind the Huskies with a sixth-place time of 6:51.91.
The Huskies' junior varsity eight rows in a repechage Saturday, requiring a first- or second-place result for entry to the grand final.
NCAA WOMEN'S ROWING CHAMPIONSHIPS
Friday, May 27, 2005
Lake Natoma; Rancho Cordova, Calif.
(top three finishers in each race to semifinals)
Heat I -- 1, Yale 6:22.06. 2, Virginia 6:22.83. 3, Brown 6:23.50. 4, Tennessee 6:27.03. 5, USC 6:30.22. 6, Wisconsin 6:33.61.
Heat II -- 1, Princeton 6:21.00. 2, Harvard 6:24.36. 3, Ohio State 6:24.42. 4, Michigan 6:32.69. 5, UCLA 6:42.46.
Heat III -- 1, California 6:26.08. 2, Stanford 6:31.35. 3, Washington 6:33.49. 4, Michigan State 6:36.36. 5, Syracuse 6:46.01.
UW lineup: cox-Dana Ryan, stroke-Courtney Plitt, 7-Kara Farquharson, 6-Sanda Hangan, 5-Allison DePalma, 4-Megan Kalmoe, 3-Janelle Dubbins, 2-Michael Kohan, bow-Marah Connole.
Junior Varsity Eights
(winner of each race to grand final, rest to repechage)
Heat I -- 1, Virginia 6:38.15. 2, Brown 6:43.11. 3, Michigan State 6:43.79. 4, Yale 6:43.82. 5, Washington 6:48.54. 6, Princeton 6:51.91.
Heat II -- 1, California 6:39.55. 2, Ohio State 6:44.87. 3, Michigan 6:45.85. 4, Harvard 6:48.06. 5, USC 6:52.34. 6, Wisconsin 6:57.78.
UW lineup: cox-Eva Anderson, stroke-Olivia Morrow, 7-Liz Simenstad, 6-Sarah Hubbard, 5-Asiha Grigsby, 4-Alina Tabacaru, 3-Gemma Edward-Aron, 2-Andrea Sooter, bow-Amanda Jensen.
(winner of each race to grand final, rest to repechage)
Heat I -- 1, Virginia 7:20.37. 2, Brown 7:24.87. 3, Michigan 7:30.99. 4, Yale 7:31.99. 5, Princeton 7:38.15. 6, Harvard 7:47.33.
Heat II -- 1, Washington 7:25.22. 2, California 7:26.98. 3, Wisconsin 7:27.58. 4, USC 7:32.49. 5, Ohio State 7:34.62. 6, Michigan State 7:34.74.
UW lineup: cox-Katie Peyer, stroke-Katie Anderson, 3-Katherine Ramos, 2-Erin Lee, bow-Katie Gardner.