May 25, 2001
GAINESVILLE, Ga. -- The Washington women's varsity eight endured a three-hour weather delay and then went on to win its semi-final heat and set up all three Husky crews for grand finals racing at the NCAA Rowing Championships on Lake Lanier.
Washington is one of only three schools, among the 10 team entries in the field, to have its first and second varsity eights and its varsity four in grand finals on Saturday. Brown, winners of the last two NCAA team titles (1999, 00), and Michigan are the others. Washington and Brown will battle for the team tie breaker in this fifth year of the NCAA Championships, as the Huskies won the first two team titles, in 1997 and 98.
After a three-hour delay in the race schedule, because of strong rain, thunder and lightening, the Husky varsity eight shot off the line and led from start to finish in its semi-final, winning in a time of 6:49.90. Racing in a strong head wind that had picked up since the first semi-final heat, Princeton chased the Huskies all the way down the course, but never could pull ahead, as the Huskies maintained at least a two seat lead the whole way. Washington had a strong second half of the race, increasing its lead on the Tigers to six seats after the crews crossed the 1,000-meter mark. Syracuse moved on Princeton and pulled even over the final 100 meters of the race, but the Tigers had the edge, crossing at 6:53.53 with Syracuse just a shade behind at 6:53.98.
It was a west coast day for racing as Southern California won the first semi-final heat. The Trojans, the that that handed Washington its only loss this season, led from start to finish to cross the line at 6:43.30, ahead of both undefeated Michigan at 6:45.85, and two-time defending champion and undefeated Brown at 6:52.17.
The semi-finals set up an exciting field for the grand final. Washington, which redeemed its early season loss to USC with a solid win at the Pac-10 Championships, has not dropped a race since that loss in April and has three seniors - Nicole Rogers, Nicole Borges and team captain Rika Geyser, who will be rowing in their final race as Huskies. Michigan, making only its third appearance in an NCAA varsity eight grand final, has never finished better than fifth on this event. The third place finish by Brown in its semi-final heat was its first loss in a 2,000-meter race since 1997. As two-time defending team champions, they enter the grand final having also won this event the last two years. Princeton and Syracuse, both coached by former Washington rowers, are ranked fourth and fifth in the country, respectively.
It all comes down to one race and its going to be a barnburner, said Carrie Stasiak, who rows in the three seat of the varsity eight. Id love to watch it, but Id love even more to row in it. I think were ready. The three seniors in the boat are really ready. We are looking forward to it.
Its going to be a photo finish-type day, added junior varsity coxswain Anne Hessburg, who helped engineer a photo finish in the junior varsity heat Thursday.
Grand Final Race Schedule - Saturday, May 26 (Lanes 1-6, left to right)
Varsity Four - 10:20 a.m.
Ohio State, Washington, Michigan, Brown, Iowa, Virginia
II Varsity Eight (junior varsity) - 11:00 a.m.
Ohio State, Washington, Michigan, Brown, Harvard, Virginia
I Varsity Eight - 11:40 a.m.
Syracuse, Michigan, Southern California, Washington, Princeton, Brown
NCAA Rowing Championships
Friday, May 25, 2001
Lake Lanier (2,000-meters), Gainesville, Ga.
Varsity Eight Semi-Final Results (top three to grand final, all others to petite final)
(sunny, warm, slight head wind)
Heat 1: Southern California 6:43:30. 2, Michigan 6:45.85. 3, Brown 6:52.17. 4, Harvard 6:57.09. 5, Boston U. 6:57.25. 6, Ohio State 7:00.15.
(sunny, warm, strong head wind)
Heat 2: 1, Washington 6:49.90. 2, Princeton 6:53.53. 3, Syracuse 6:53.98. 4, California 6:59.20. 5, Michigan State 7:03.85. 6, Yale 7:05.36.