May 19, 2009
INDIANAPOLIS - The No. 9 Washington Huskies are one of 16 full teams selected to compete at the 2009 Division I NCAA Rowing Championship, slated for May 29-31 at Cooper River Park in Cherry Hill, N.J., the NCAA announced Tuesday. The Huskies are one of only three teams in the country to be selected to all 13 NCAA Rowing Championship regattas in NCAA history.
The Huskies' varsity eight will compete in the first heat, scheduled for Friday, May 29 at 8:45am.
"The kids have earned this and it will be fun to go see what we can do," said Director of Rowing and women's head coach Bob Ernst. "Everybody there is good. Everybody's good or they wouldn't have gotten selected, so you have to go and race."
Washington's varsity eight is coming off a strong outing at the 2009 Pac-10 Championship, held last weekend on Lake Natoma, in Rancho Cordova, Calif. The Huskies finished fourth behind No. 2 California, No. 1 Stanford and Oregon State. Washington is currently the third-ranked eight in the west region, behind Cal and Stanford. The varsity eight will face Stanford, Yale, Harvard and Ohio State in the first heat.
The Huskies are assigned to the first heat in the second varsity eight as well. At last weekend's Pac-10 championship, the Washington second varsity eight raced well, but fell to Pac-10 champion California and Stanford, settling for bronze in that event. The Huskies' second eight is ranked No. 3 in the west region and will face Virginia, Ohio State, Harvard and Oregon State in their heat.
In the varsity four event, Washington was assigned to the third heat. The Huskies enter the NCAA Championship regatta as the top-ranked four in the west. Washington earned a bronze-medal finish at last weekend's Pac-10 championship in the event.
"Only the heat winners go to the semi-final, so there's a premium on winning the heat," said Ernst. "But in the heats, there's also a premium on performing well because you have to row in the repecharge on the same day. There's just no way to back in to the semifinal with that level of competition."
Selection was based on the following criteria: eligibility and availability of athletes, head-to-head results, conference championship results, results versus teams selected, results versus common opponents, regional ranking, results versus regionally-ranked teams.
Five of the 16 full teams selected to compete at the 2009 NCAA Championship hail from the Pac-10. 2009 Pac-10 Champions California, Stanford, USC, Oregon State and Washington each earned a berth to the national championship regatta.
"The Pac-10 is a very, very tough conference," commented Ernst. "It's one of the things that makes it really fun and exciting to coach women's crew in the Pac-10. You've got teams with Olympians on it and people that have rowed in world championships, real world-class athletes. That's where we want to be."
This year's national title hunt has a slight different flavor than last year. Of the 16 full teams competing, only 10 return from the 2008 team championship regatta. New to the team format in 2009 will be ACC champion Clemson, Dartmouth, Michigan, Oregon State, USC and Stanford. Clemson, Michigan, Stanford and USC each competed as at-large varsity eights last year. Left out of the selection this year were Tennessee and Washington State. The 2009 NCAA Division I Rowing Championship field is Brown, California, Clemson, Dartmouth, Harvard (Radcliffe), Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Oregon State, Princeton, USC, Stanford, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin and Yale.
Brown enters the 2009 NCAA Championship regatta as the two-time defending national team champion.
Washington placed second in last year's team standings, based largely on the NCAA Champion varsity four and the bronze-medal second varsity eight's performances. The 2008 edition of the Husky varsity eight took fifth at the NCAA regatta.
"One of the things that's really important about this regatta is that it's a team championship," said Ernst. "So what that means is that our whole team, the 155 women we started out with in September, are the people who got us here. And we get to take the 25 who probably have most earned the opportunity and they're going to measure Washington's women's rowing team for this year. I think it's a great concept, where not only is the varsity eight important, but the JVs are important and the varsity four is important. The girls have done a really super job all year in getting us this far."
"I think we're in a better position than we were last year," added Ernst. "It's gonna be fun!"
2009 NCAA Women's Rowing Championships Field
May 29-31, 2009 - Cooper River Park, Cherry Hill, N.J.