May 23, 2011
Setting the Scene: NCAA Championships
The Washington women's crew program is on a quest for trophies at the 2011 NCAA Championships, which will take place at the Sacramento State Aquatic Center on Lake Natoma from May 27-29. Once again the Huskies - who are in search of their fourth NCAA team title - continue their streak of reaching the 16-team NCAA field each year since its inception in 1997, one of just three teams to accomplish such a feat. Washington, which is ranked ninth in the latest CRCA-US Rowing poll, will send three boats to Lake Natoma: a varsity eight, a second varsity eight and an open four. The racing begins with the heats on Thursday morning, with the top three boats in each race advancing to Friday's semifinals. The bottom three move onto the repechage in a last-chance effort at the semifinals.
Race updates are available in real time with the official Washington rowing Twitter feed, which is available at www.twitter.com/UWHuskyCrew. Official results and a race recap will also be available on GoHuskies.com following each day of racing. JAMCO will have live scoring. Fans may also watch a live stream of the NCAA Championships on the organization's main page: www.ncaa.com.
In Search Of Hardware
Washington has won three National Championships since the NCAA began organizing the competition in 1997. The last Huskies NCAA team title came in 2001, featuring a lineup that included three eventual Olympians: Rika Geyser, Anna (Mickelson) Cummins and Mary Whipple. The varsity eight has won an NCAA national title four times (1997, 1998, 2001 & 2002), the second varsity eight once (2002), while the varsity four has captured four championships (1997, 1998, 2001 & 2008). Overall, the Huskies have won 11 National Championships.
The Huskies finished in a tie for 10th out of 16 crews at the 2010 Championships on Lake Natoma. The varsity four was the lone boat to make a grand final, finishing sixth.
The NCAA Field
Sixteen teams are invited annually to participate in the NCAA Championships. Brown, Princeton and Washington are the only teams who have been invited to the NCAA Championships each year since 1997.
The 2011 field includes a cadre of elite crews, including four additional teams from the Pac-10 Conference (USC, host Washington State, Cal & Stanford). The five programs from the Pac-10 tied for the most of any conference in the NCAA field. The Big Ten was next on the depth chart with four teams: Michigan, Wisconsin, Michigan State and Ohio State. Virginia, the defending National Champions, is one of two programs (along with Clemson) to make the field from the Atlantic Coast Conference. The Ivy League also had strong representation, with Radcliffe (Harvard), Princeton, Brown, Dartmouth and Yale all receiving bids. Brown won two straight NCAA titles in 2007 & 2008 before Stanford unseated the Bears run in 2009. The Bulldogs from Yale are the defending varsity eight champions at the NCAA Tournament.
Huskies Coaching Staff
The Husky women's team is coached by the legendary Bob Ernst, who made the switch after a 20-year stint coaching the men's program. Ernst is no stranger to women's rowing, having shepherded the program to six National Championships from 1981-87. Ernst also has significant Olympics and International experience and has been involved with some facet of the UW program since 1974. In 1984, he coached the Gold Medal winning eight in the Los Angeles Olympic Games.
Last Time Out
The Huskies picked up a pair of medals at the Pac-10 Championships on Lake Natoma, winning silver in the varsity four and taking bronze in the novice eight. Overall, the team finished in fourth place after accumulating 25.5 points over four races, with the second varsity eight just missing the medal stand at fourth place. Washington's top eight finished in fifth, rowing in a torrential stew of rain, wind and hail.
Each year after the Class Day Regatta, the Huskies select a captain to lead their program into the brunt of the spring season. This year, Kerry Simmonds will represent her boat and sport the star on Washington's traditional white oars.
Lake Natoma is a 2,000-meter course and the home venue of the Pac-10 Championship. Situated 15 miles northeast of Sacramento, Calif., Lake Natoma was created by Nimbus Dam across American River and is a regulating reservoir for releases from Folsom Lake.
Scouting The Huskies
The spring season began as the Dawgs picked up two wins at the San Diego Crew Classic, and then followed up that performance with a sweep of rival Washington State on the Snake River. Washington could not build off that momentum against Cal, losing all four races on the Montlake Cut to the Golden Bears. The Huskies rebounded, though, with a stellar effort at the Windermere Cup, displaying an ample amount of power in beating Oklahoma and Cambridge. With the regular season over, the Huskies moved on to the ultra-competitive Pac-10 Championships, where the team finished fourth.
Friday, May 27
8:30 a.m. Varsity Eight Heat 1
8:45 a.m. Varsity Eight Heat 2
9:00 a.m. Varsity Eight Heat 3
9:15 a.m. Second Varsity Eight Heat 1
9:30 a.m. Second Varsity Eight Heat 2
9:45 a.m. Second Varsity Eight Heat 3
10:00 a.m. Varsity Four Heat 1
10:15 a.m. Varsity Four Heat 2
3:30 p.m. Varsity Eight Repechage
3:45 p.m. Second Varsity Eight Repechage
4:00 p.m. Varsity Four Repechage
Saturday, May 28
9:00 a.m. Varsity Eight Semifinals
9:15 a.m .Varsity Eight Semifinals
9:30 a.m. Second Varsity Eight Semifinals
9:45 a.m. Second Varsity Eight Semifinals
10:00 a.m. Varsity Four Semifinals
10:15 a.m. Varsity Four Semifinals
Sunday, May 29
9:50 a.m. Varsity Four Third Final (places 13-16)
10:05 a.m. Varsity Four Petite Final (places 7-12)
10:25 a.m. Varsity Four Grand Final (places 1-6)
10:40 a.m. Second Varsity Eight Third Final (places 13-16)
10:55 a.m. Second Varsity Eight Petite Final (places 7-12)
11:15 a.m. Second Varsity Eight Grand Final (places 1-6)
11:30 a.m. Varsity Eight Third Final (places 13-16)
11:45 a.m. Varsity Eight Petite Final (places 7-12)
12:05 p.m. Varsity Eight Grand Final (places 1-6)
Summer Camp Selections
Earlier in April, four Husky women were invited to the U23 National Team camp. Seniors Kerry Simmonds and Michelle Darby, junior Erin Lauber and sophomore Madison Culp were all tapped to attend the camp, which will be held in San Diego and Princeton, N.J., this summer. Junior Ariana Tanimoto was put on the wait list. The rowers are competing for spots in the women's 8+ and 4x boats that will race at the FISA U23 World Championships in Amsterdam on July 21-24.
On the Horizon
The No. 1 Washington men's crew program is off to Cherry Hill, N.J. to race in the IRAs, where a stacked field awaits as the Huskies seek their 16th National Championship.