May 30, 2004
RANCHO CORDOVA, Calif. - Washington's varsity four crew collected the silver medal and the varsity eight was victorious in the petite final Sunday, leading the Huskies to a fifth-place finish in the team standings at the NCAA Women's Rowing Championships on Lake Natoma.
The UW varsity four dueled Virginia throughout the entire 2,000-meter course before finishing one length back. The third Husky entry finished sixth in the junior varsity eight grand final.
Brown won the varsity and junior varsity eight races en route to its fourth team title. The Bears broke a deadlock with Washington that was tied for the all-time NCAA lead with three team championships entering the 2004 regatta. The Huskies took home the team trophy in 1997, 1998 and 2001 while Brown previously topped the team standings in 1999, 2000 and 2002. Last year's champion, Harvard, is the only other school to win the team title. Washington and Brown are the only teams to finish among the top five at all eight championships since the NCAA began sponsoring women's rowing in 1997.
The team champion was determined by a combination of results from each of the three events. Brown, California and Yale were the only schools to qualify a crew for all three grand final races. No team has won the NCAA team championship without an entry in every grand final.
Brown amassed 70 points to easily claim the team championship. Yale was second with 58 points followed by Michigan in third with 52, California in fourth with 51 and Washington in fifth with 43. Princeton finished sixth (36 points) followed by Virginia (36), Ohio State (33), Washington State (28), Harvard (24), Wisconsin (19) and Michigan State (18).
Washington's best result came in the varsity four grand final. After opening an early lead, UW was overtaken by Virginia and Brown. The Huskies breezed past Brown at the 500-meter mark and broke away from the field along with Virginia. The Cavaliers sustained a swift pace and never let UW close the gap, finishing with a winning time of 7:27.5. The Huskies finished in 7:30.8 followed by third-place Brown in 7:32.2.
"Our motto for today was 'no regrets' and we got off the water and we didn't have any. We raced our best race," said UW's varsity four coxswain Eva Anderson, a sophomore from Shorecrest High School. "There was nothing more that they could have given. There was nothing more than I could have said. We got on the racecourse and Virginia was the best. We made them work for it every stroke, we never let up on them."
The varsity four grand final appearance was the first since UW captured back-to-back championships in 2000 and 2001. The Huskies won the varsity four petite final at last year's NCAA regatta.
Assistant coach Sean Mulligan, a former Husky coxswain, is in his first season on the women's staff after serving as an intern with the men's team. He directs the women's four one year after coaching the UW men's varsity four to a national title at the 2003 IRA Championships.
Despite the second-place finish, Mulligan thought Sunday was the best performance of the season for the UW four that won the Pac-10 championship May 16 at the same Lake Natoma venue.
"They had their best race in the final. Virginia has a really good crew and they were faster. Sometimes you feel bad if you lose, but as long as they have their best race and come off the water feeling that they did the best that they could that's all you can do. Sometimes crews are just faster than you."
The Huskies narrowly missed qualifying for the varsity eight grand final during Saturday's semifinals, placing one seat behind third-place Princeton. They took their frustration out on the petite finalists.
"Our job as a boat today was to lift our heads and come into this race as though it were the grand final," said senior coxswain Megan Mach (Ballard HS). "This was one of our best races, to be able to stick it from the start all the way through. It was a really satisfying race, even if we are going to be ranked seventh."
Washington went wire-to-wire to win the petite final to place seventh overall. The Huskies stormed off the starting line and led Virginia and Harvard by one-half length after 500 meters. The defending champion Crimson moved into second and closed within three seats with 500 meters remaining. UW held off the hard-charging second- and third-place boats that finished with their bow balls even to the Huskies' deck.
UW clocked a winning time of 6:37.8 that was comparable to the fourth-place time in the grand final. Harvard was second in 6:38.4 followed by Virginia in 6:38.6.
"The other crews were able to scare us a little at the end there. We were just out of gas after yesterday's race being so hard all the way down to the wire," said UW head coach Eleanor McElvaine. "Obviously they went out there to win it today and paid a big price to get ahead. But, they were going to die before they let anyone get them. They were pretty firm in their commitment to win that race."
The young Washington rowing team returns six rowers from its top boat, a complete reversal of last season when only two athletes returned from the fourth-place varsity eight crew. Just four seniors were among the Huskies' entire cadre of 23 athletes that competed at the NCAA regatta. None of those seniors was on the junior varsity crew.
The Husky jayvees advanced to the grand final with a first-place performance in Friday's heat race. In Sunday's championship race they jumped out to an early lead that was relinquished at the 500-meter mark. The other crews gradually passed UW, including Yale that moved into fifth place at the finish line.
Brown won the second varsity competition with a time of 6:44.1 followed by California in 6:46.8, Washington State in 6:47.0, Michigan in 6:47.2, Yale in 6:50.4 and Washington in 6:50.41.
"They hit it really hard and aggressive at the start. They just had problems getting down and finding that rhythm," McElvaine explained about the performance of her crew that included four freshmen. "It kind of showed a little bit of the youth in the boat. When you don't have rhythm then it feels like eight individuals just trying to pull the boat apart and you don't go fast. It's certainly frustrating that they didn't have their best race. At the same time, we're really proud that they were in the final."
NCAA WOMEN'S ROWING CHAMPIONSHIPS
Sunday, May 30, 2004
Lake Natoma; Rancho Cordova, Calif.
Final Team Standings
1, Brown 70. 2, Yale 58. 3, Michigan 52. 4, California 51. 5, Washington 43. 6, Princeton 36. 7, Virginia 36. 8, Ohio State 33. 9, Washington State 28. 10, Harvard 24. 11, Wisconsin 19. 12, Michigan State 18.
Championship Race Results
Grand Final -- 1, Brown 6:32.9. 2, Yale 6:34.6. 3, Michigan 6:37.1. 4, Princeton 6:37.7. 5, Ohio State 6:38.9. 6, California 6:40.1
Petite Final -- 1, Washington 6:37.8. 2, Harvard 6:38.4. 3, Virginia 6:38.6. 4, Tennessee 6:41.1. 5, Notre Dame 6:44.0. 6, USC 6:44.1.
UW lineup: cox-Megan Mach, stroke-Sanda Hangan,
7-Kara Farquharson, 6-Yvonneke Stenken, 5-Allison DePalma,
4-Mary Reeves, 3-Sarah Hubbard, 2-Gemma Edward-Aron,
Second Varsity Eights
Grand Final -- 1, Brown 6:44.1. 2, California 6:46.8. 3, Washington State 6:47.0. 4, Michigan 6:47.2. 5, Yale 6:50.4. 6, Washington 6:50.41.
UW lineup: cox-Katie Peyer, stroke-Courtney Plitt,
7-Andrea Sooter, 6-Megan Kalmoe, 5-Amanda Jensen,
4-Liz Simenstad, 3-Cara Troelstra, 2-Marah Connole,
Petite Final -- 1, Virginia 6:48.8. 2, Wisconsin 6:51.0. 3, Harvard 6:53.7. 4, Princeton 6:54.0. 5, Michigan State 6:54.4. 6, Ohio State 6:55.1.
Grand Final -- 1, Virginia 7:27.5. 2, Washington 7:30.8. 3, Brown 7:32.2. 4,Yale 7:34.4. 5, California 7:39.3. 6, Ohio State 7:39.9.
UW lineup: cox-Eva Anderson, stroke-Alina Tabacaru,
3-Signe Johannes, 2-Katherine Ramos, bow-Analena Shepherd.
Petite Final -- 1, Wisconsin 7:32.5. 2, Michigan State 7:34.2. 3, Michigan 7:37.7. 4, Princeton 7:39.5. 5, Washington State 7:41.1. 6, Harvard 7:46.4.