May 22, 2006
FRIDAY-SUNDAY, MAY 26-28 --
Washington Crew at NCAA Women's Rowing Championships
Mercer Lake / West Windsor, N.J.
It's championship week for the Washington women's rowing team. The Huskies compete Friday through Sunday, May 26-28 in West Windsor, N.J. at the 10th-annual NCAA Women's Rowing Championships. The 2,000-meter races will be contested on Lake Mercer. The Huskies are the No. 3 seed from the West Region that also supplied the championship regatta with Pac-10 winner California, Stanford and Washington State. Each of the 12 schools vying for the team championship is required to enter crews in three events: the varsity eights, second varsity eights and varsity fours. 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 eights.
The field includes eight of the same schools from last season's championships. The new entries for 2006 are Notre Dame, Stanford, Tennessee and Washington State. The returning teams are Brown, California, Michigan State, Ohio State, Princeton, Washington, Wisconsin and Yale. The prowess of the Pac-10 was rewarded with four team berths (UW, California, Washington State, Stanford), while USC and UCLA received at-large varsity eight entries. All six teams that rowed in the May 14 grand final at the Pac-10 regatta will compete in the varsity eights at the NCAA championships.
Quoting Washington Coach Eleanor McElvaine
"I think it's going to be a fantastic championship. USC and UCLA got at-large bids for their varsity eights. That means that the entire final from the Pac-10 championships are going to be racing at the NCAA. That is just awesome, showing how strong our conference is. We've made a couple of personnel moves just to make it a little bit different and keep everybody really excited. We get to go to national championships with a little bit more speed. If you race that lineup again at the national championships there's always this seed of doubt in the back of the kids' heads wondering, 'Are we going to do it this time or not, is this going to be like Pac-10s?' We felt like we needed to just make a couple changes. Now we've got about a week to make those stick and get going. Our focus is on Friday's heats, and moving through them into the semifinals."
NCAA Regatta History
California won the 2005 NCAA team title, becoming the third different winner in as many years. Brown captured its NCAA-leading fourth championship in 2004 and Harvard was victorious in 2003. UW took home the championship trophy in 1997, 1998 and 2001. The Huskies placed ninth in the team standings last spring. Washington is one of only three schools to receive invitations to all 10 championships since the NCAA began sponsoring women's rowing in 1997. The Huskies are joined in that elite group by Brown and Princeton. Virginia, which qualified for the previous nine NCAA regattas, did not earn a berth this season. Another prominent omission from this year's NCAA field is Harvard, the 2003 national champion.
Washington's 2006 NCAA Championship Entries
> Varsity Eight -- Ranked No. 11 ... Fourth-place at Pac-10s ... 12th at 2005 NCAAs ... Won back-to-back NCAA varsity eight titles in 2001-2001 and 1997-1998.
> Second Varsity Eight -- Fourth place at Pac-10 regatta ... Won the petite final at last year's NCAA regatta ... Finished first or second four straight years from 2000-03.
> Varsity Four -- Fourth place at Pac-10 regatta ... Posted third-place NCAA finish in 2005 and second in 2004 ... Won three consecutive NCAA titles from 1999-2001.
No offense to the NCAA championship field, but the Washington varsity eight crew faced its toughest competition of the season, May 6 at the Windermere Cup in Seattle. The UW women were seven seconds back of the national team that featured five members from the Russian crew that competed at the 2005 world championships.
Washington won three of the nine championships since the NCAA began hosting women's rowing in 1997. The Huskies were team titlists in 1997, 1998 and 2001.
The Huskies placed among the top-10 in the team standings at all nine previous NCAA Championships. They medaled every year between 1997 and 2003.
UW is one of just three teams to receive invitations to all 10 NCAA women's rowing championships, joining Brown and Princeton.
About the UW Women
The Washington women's varsity eight crew is ranked 11th in the current coaches poll (May 17). During the season, UW finished races ahead of current No. 13 Boston University, No. 15 Stanford and No 17 UCLA. The Huskies losses came against No. 2 California, No. 3 Washington State, No. 4 USC and No. 7 Ohio State. The Huskies placed ninth in the team competition at the 2005 NCAA Championships. Four rowers return from UW's varsity eight crew that placed 12th at the NCAA regatta: seniors Marah Connole (Helena, Mt.), Megan Kalmoe (St. Croix Falls, Wis.) and Allison DePalma (San Jose, Calif.) along with junior Courtney Plitt (Mill Creek, Wash./Jackson HS). Also returning are six members of the second varsity eight that won the 2005 NCAA petite final. An infusion of talent joins the varsity in the form of a cadre of sophomores who led the novice eight to the 2005 Pac-10 championship.
2006 NCAA WOMEN'S ROWING CHAMPIONSHIPS SCHEDULE
(all times Pacific)
Friday, May 26
5:00 a.m. -- Varsity Eights (heat 1)
5:15 a.m. -- Varsity Eights (heat 2)
5:30 a.m. -- Varsity Eights (heat 3)
6:45 a.m. -- Second Varsity Eights (heat 1)
7:00 a.m. -- Second Varsity Eights (heat 2)
7:45 a.m. -- Varsity Fours (heat 1)
8:00 a.m. -- Varsity Fours (heat 2)
1:00 p.m. -- Varsity Eights (repechage)
Saturday, May 27
6:30 a.m. -- Varsity Fours (repechage)
7:00 a.m. -- Second Varsity Eights (repechage)
7:30 a.m. -- Varsity Eights (semifinal)
8:00 a.m. -- Varsity Eights third final (places 13-16)
Sunday, May 28
7:30 a.m. -- Varsity Fours (petite final)
7:45 a.m. -- Varsity Fours (grand final)
8:00 a.m. -- Second Varsity Eights (petite final)
8:15 a.m. -- Second Varsity Eights (grand final)
8:45 a.m. -- Varsity Eights (petite final)
9:00 a.m. -- Varsity Eights (grand final)
The Washington women won at least one of the three event national championships in six of the previous nine NCAA regattas. 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.
The Huskies return 10 of the 23 athletes from the squad that finished ninth at last year's NCAA Championships. Many are competing in different boats, leaving seniors Marah Connole, Allison DePalma and Megan Kalmoe along with junior Courtney Plitt as the only holdovers still rowing in UW's top crew. The Huskies' varsity eight, which placed 12th at the 2005 NCAAs, is currently ranked 11th.
Varsity Eight -- Results at NCAA Championships
cox - Eva Anderson -- 2005 2V-8 7th, 2004 V-4 silver
stroke - Courtney Plitt -- 2005 V-8 12th, 2004 2V-8 6th
7 - Jamie Unwin -- 2005 spare
6 - Sarah Hubbard -- 2005 2V-8 7th, 2004 V-8 7th
5 - Kim Armstrong -- first NCAA appearance
4 - Megan Kalmoe -- 2005 V-8 12th, 2004 2V-8 6th
3 - Allison DePalma -- 2005 V-8 12th, 2004 V-8 7th, 2003 spare
2 - Olivia Morrow -- 2005 2V-8 7th, 2004 2V-8 6th
bow - Marah Connole -- 2005 V-8 12th, 2004 2V-8 6th
Second Varsity Eight -- Results at NCAA Championships
cox - Alysha Koorji -- first NCAA appearance
stroke - Andrea Sooter -- 2005 2V-8 7th, 2004 2V-8 6th
7 - Cara Troelstra -- first NCAA appearance
6 - Kim Kennedy -- first NCAA appearance
5 - Charlene Franklin -- first NCAA appearance
4 - Karen Magnuson -- first NCAA appearance
3 - Corianne Bowman -- first NCAA appearance
2 - Ivayla Dermendjieva -- first NCAA appearance
bow - Liz Simenstad -- 2005 2V-8 7th, 2004 2V-8 6th
Varsity Four -- Results at NCAA Championships
cox - Sofia Benson-Goldberg -- first NCAA appearance
stroke - Ashley Jones -- first NCAA appearance
3 - Asiha Grigsby -- 2005 2V-8 7th
2 - Taryn Langlois -- first NCAA appearance
bow - Erika Sweet -- first NCAA appearance
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
Junior Varsity Eight -- 1981, 1982, 1983, 1987, 1989, 1994, 2002
Varsity Four - - 1987, 1999, 2000, 2001