May 25, 2004
Friday-Sunday, May 28-30 --
at NCAA Women's Rowing Championships
Lake Natoma; Rancho Cordova, Calif.
It's championship week for the sixth-ranked Washington women's rowing team. The Huskies compete, Friday through Sunday, May 28-30 on Lake Natoma in Rancho Cordova, Calif. at the eighth-annual NCAA Women's Rowing Championships. The Huskies are aiming for their fourth NCAA team title, their first since 2001. Pac-10 champion California is ranked No. 1 as the nation's only undefeated varsity eight crew. Princeton is ranked second, Ohio State No. 3 and defending champion Harvard No. 4. Each of the 12 schools vying for the team championship is required to enter crews in three events; the varsity eight, second varsity eight and varsity four competitions. The NCAA team champion is determined by combining the results from the three events. In addition, four schools received at-large berths to enter boats in the varsity eight competition.
The NCAA Field
The field includes 11 of the same schools from last season's championships. The only new entry for 2004 is Wisconsin which takes the spot occupied last year by Stanford. Three Pac-10 schools will send teams to the championships and a fourth, USC, received one of four at-large varsity eight entries. The year's complete field of schools vying for the team championship includes, Brown, California, Harvard, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Princeton, Virginia, Washington, Washington State Wisconsin and Yale. The four at-large eights are Notre Dame, Tennessee, Texas and USC.
Live results from the NCAA Rowing Championships are available at the following web address: jamcotimes.com A daily recap will be available each afternoon at the official Husky website: www.gohuskies.com
Huskies at the NCAA Regatta
Harvard won last year's NCAA championship, breaking the stranglehold that Washington and Brown held on the team title. The Huskies and Bears had split the first six NCAA team competitions. UW took home the championship trophy in 1997, 1998 and 2001 while Brown won in 1999, 2000 and 2002. The Huskies placed third in the team standings last spring. Washington is one of only four schools to receive invitations to all eight championships since the NCAA began sponsoring women's rowing in 1997. The Huskies are joined in that elite group by Brown, Princeton and Virginia.
The Huskies are familiar with the Lake Natoma venue which annually hosts the Pac-10 Championships. On May 16, the varsity four crew won a conference title, helping UW place second to California in the team standings. One Husky rower extremely familiar with the area is Sacramento native Yvonneke Stenken, one of only two holdovers from Washington's varsity eight crew that finished fourth at the 2003 NCAA Championships. Senior Mary Reeves (Dayton, Wash.) is the other returnee from last season.
The Washington Entries
> Varsity Eight -- Ranked No. 6. Pac-10 runner-up. Only team to defeat UW in 2004 is top-ranked California which posted three wins over the Huskies. Won four of the previous seven NCAA races with back-to-back titles in 2001-02 and 1997-98.
> Second Varsity Eight -- Third place at Pac-10 Regatta. Placed second at last year's NCAA Championships. Finished first or second nationally each of the last four years. Won Washington's only NCAA second varsity eight championship in 2002 after placing second in 2000 and 2001.
> Varsity Four -- Pac-10 champion. Registered a seventh-place finish last year as the winner of the petite final. Won three consecutive NCAA championships from 1999 to 2001.
Coach Eleanor McElvaine on the NCAAs
"We've gone the last seven years and we're excited to go again. We're very happy to keep the streak going. I anticipate that it's going to be great racing, The results are very mixed across the country and nobody is dominating so that tells me it should be a tough competition. Other than knowing where we stand within our region I have absolutely no idea where we're going to come out amongst the teams across the country. That's what we're going to find out."
Friday's NCAA Women's Schedule, May 28 (all times Pacific)
8:00 a.m. -- Varsity Eight (heat 1)
8:15 a.m. -- Varsity Eight (heat 2)
8:30 a.m. -- Varsity Eight (heat 3)
10:00 a.m. -- Second Varsity Eight (heat 1)
10:15 a.m. -- Second Varsity Eight (heat 2)
11:00 a.m. -- Varsity Four (heat 1)
11:15 a.m. -- Varsity Four (heat 2)
4:00 p.m. -- Varsity Eight (repechage)
Saturday's NCAA Women's Schedule, May 29 (all times Pacific)
9:30 a.m. -- Varsity Four (repechage)
10:00 a.m. -- Second Varsity Eight (repechage)
10:30 a.m. -- Varsity Eight (semifinal 1)
10:45 a.m. -- Varsity Eight (semifinal 2)
Sunday's NCAA Women's Schedule, May 30 (all times Pacific)
10:30 a.m. -- Varsity Four (petite final)
10:45 a.m. -- Varsity Four (grand final)
11:00 a.m. -- Second Varsity Eight (petite final)
11:15 a.m. -- Second Varsity Eight (grand final)
11:45 a.m. -- Varsity Eight (petite final)
12:00 p.m. -- Varsity Eight (grand final)
* Washington won three (1997, 1998, 2001) of the seven championships since the NCAA began hosting women's rowing in 1997.
* The Huskies medaled in the team standings at all seven NCAA Championships. They earned a gold medal in 1997, 1998 and 2001, silver in 2000 and 2002 and bronze in 1999 and 2003.
* The Washington women won at least one of the three event national championships in six of the previous seven NCAA regattas. Last year was the first time a UW women's crew did not win an NCAA title. The Huskies won multiple national titles at the 2001 and 2002 NCAA women's championships. They won the varsity eight and second varsity eight titles in 2002 and the varsity eight and varsity four events in 2001.
* Sacramento native Yvonneke Stenken, a senior on the Washington women's varsity eight, returns home for her final collegiate competition. Stenken, who rows in the No. 6 seat, prepped at Rio Americano High School. She has had great success in previous trips to Lake Natoma, rowing on UW's 2002 Pac-10 champion varsity eight, 2003 and 2004 runner-up varsity eight and 2001 runner-up novice eight. Stenken collected two gold medals at previous NCAA Championships as a member of the 2001 varsity four and the 2002 varsity eight titlists.
Pac-10 Championships Recap
The women's varsity four went wire-to-wire to post an impressive open-water victory, helping Washington finish second in the team standings at the Pacific-10 Conference Rowing Championships, May 16 on Lake Natoma. California scored 69 points to win the women's overall title while the Huskies totaled 62 points. Washington State finished third with 50 points followed by USC (48), Oregon State (40), Stanford (35), UCLA (31) and Oregon (4). The Huskies' four crossed the finish line in 7:43.7 and runner-up Cal had a time of 7:51.3. UW crews were runners-up in the women's varsity eight race and third among junior varsity competitors. California won both of those events. The top-ranked Bears' varsity eight clocked a time of 6:43.8 to beat the No. 9 Huskies by one length. UW finished with a time of 6:47.6 and USC was third in 6:50.4. Cal's winning time in the junior varsity race was 6:48.4. Washington State was second in 6:50.1 followed by the Huskies in 6:54.5. The Washington women's novice eight tasted defeat for the first time this season, finishing seven seats behind winner California. The Bears finished in 6:58.7 followed by the Huskies in 7:01.7 and Oregon State third in 7:03.0. The UW newcomers had defeated Cal in their previous two meetings, but half the Husky crew changed as four rowers were promoted to varsity boats two weeks earlier.
The future looks bright for the Washington women's program that fields a dominant group of first-year rowers. UW's novice eight crew was undefeated in six races this season before being broken up to bolster the varsity boats. The Huskies' average winning margin was an astounding 10 seconds, including a 20-second triumph April 24 at California. The newcomers were so impressive that four of them were promoted prior to the Pac-10 Championships on May 16. Kara Farquharson is the No. 7 seat in the varsity where she joins Sarah Hubbard who rowed all season in UW's top crew. A quarter of freshman, Courtney Plitt, Liz Simenstad, Andrea Sooter and Cara Troelstra will row in the Huskies' second varsity boat at the NCAA Championships.
About the UW Women's Varsity Eight
The Washington women's varsity eight rose three spots to No. 6 in the most recent (May 19) coaches poll. They were the Pac-10 runners-up, finishing second to top-ranked California at the conference regatta (May 16). The Huskies placed second to California at the San Diego Crew Classic (April 4) and defeated Washington State in a dual (April 10). UW finished three seconds behind No. 2 California in a dual race (April 24). The Huskies outraced UCLA and the Italian junior national team on May 1 to win the Windermere Cup. UW defeated Oregon State (May 8) by two boat lengths in its final regular-season race. The Huskies return only two rowers from the crew that placed fourth in the varsity eight event at the 2003 NCAA Championships. Seniors Mary Reeves (Dayton, Wash./Dayton HS) and Yvonneke Stenken (Sacramento, Calif.) are the only holdovers from last season's top boat. The changes aren't limited to the athletes as the UW coaching staff underwent a major overhaul. Eleanor McElvaine takes over as the women's head coach after serving 13 seasons as an assistant coach under Jan Harville who retired in July. Sean Mulligan was hired as the assistant varsity coach while Erica Schwab will work as the novice women's coach. All three members of the staff are former crew competitors at UW.
Returners (2003 seat): Mary Reeves (2), Yvonneke Stenken (bow).
Departures (2003 seat): Anne Hessburg (cox), Lauren Estevenin (stroke), Carrie Stasiak (7), Adrienne Hunter (6), Heidi Hurn (5), Jesica Harm (4), Erin Curry (3).
The Washington women's varsity eight crew features six rowers who were not in the top boat last season. The most noticeable newcomer is 6-foot-6 freshman Sarah Hubbard, a native of Adelaide, Australia. Hubbard is one of the rare true freshmen to compete for the varsity. Even rarer is the fact that she immediately earned a berth in the varsity eight and has rowed with that crew all season. Hubbard's parents are both employed as playground designers in Australia.
Long before rowing became an NCAA Championship-sanctioned event, the Huskies were a fixture at the collegiate championships and collected several national titles. The first women's collegiate championship was contested in 1980 in Oak Ridge, Tenn. Washington won its first varsity eight title in 1981, the first of an unprecedented five straight varsity titles. They won back-to-back varsity gold medals in 1987 and 1988 before earning the first NCAA title in 1997. The Huskies made a clean sweep of the varsity and junior varsity eight and varsity four in 1987. Here's a look at the national titles won by Washington crews, including championships won before the first NCAA regatta in 1997:
Varsity Eight - 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1987, 1988, 1997, 1998, 2001, 2002
Second Varsity Eight - 1981, 1982, 1983, 1987, 1989, 1994, 2002
Varsity Four - 1987, 1999, 2000, 2001
2003 NCAA Recap
Harvard's victory in the varsity eight race clinched the team title while Washington finished third in the team standings after a fourth-place effort in the featured race June 1 during the 2003 NCAA Women's Rowing Championships at Eagle Creek. Washington rowers collected the silver medal in the second varsity (junior varsity) competition and the Huskies were the first crew across the finish line in the petite final of the varsity four event to place seventh overall. The third-place finish kept alive a streak that has seen three-time national champion Washington place among the top three in the team standings at all seven NCAA Championships. The Crimson earned the team trophy in the closest contest ever, amassing 59 points. Runner-up Brown totaled 57 points, Washington had 55 and Michigan was fourth with 51. Harvard became the first school other than Washington and Brown to win a team championship since the NCAA began sponsoring women's rowing in 1997. Washington (1997, 1998, 2001) and Brown (1999, 2000, 2002) have each won three team titles. Harvard's winning time over the 2,000-meter course was 6-minutes, 26.92-seconds. Michigan finished second in 6:28.58, followed by Stanford in 6:29.54 and Washington in 6:30.07.
Over half (14) of the 23 Husky athletes competing in the three different events are making their NCAA Championship debuts. Nine UW competitors have raced at previous NCAA Championships, including senior Yvonneke Stenken who collected two gold medals. The Sacramento native (Rio Americano HS) was a member of the Huskies' national champion varsity four in 2001 and the winning varsity eight entry in 2002. The only other UW rower to strike gold at the NCAAs is junior Sanda Hangan who was a member of the championship second varsity crew in 2002. Three members of the Huskies' varsity eight crew are making their NCAA Regatta maiden voyage, including freshmen Kara Farquaharson and Sarah Hubbard along with sophomore Allison DePalma.