UW Women's Varsity 8 Posts Top Semifinal Time in NCAA Rowing
June 1, 2002
INDIANAPOLIS - Washington's varsity eight remained undefeated, advancing to the grand final by posting the fastest semifinal time Saturday during the second day of the NCAA Women's Rowing Championships at Eagle Creek Park.
As they did in Friday's opening round, the Huskies started strong and went wire-to-wire with an impressive open-water victory. Washington completed the 2,000-meter course in 6-minutes, 47.72-seconds, finishing over four seconds ahead of California's runner-up time of 6:52.04.
The only thing that has slowed the potent UW varsity eight has been delays in the racing schedule. The start of Saturday's competition was postponed for 90 minutes while thunder showers passed through the area. Additional thunderstorms are projected Sunday and could affect the championship races.
The Huskies' varsity eight semifinal race was delayed 15 minutes at the starting line while the California boat underwent repair to one of its seats. The race eventually got underway after an additional half-hour delay during which the second semifinal proceeded ahead of the first while the Cal shell was being fixed.
"The delays were very draining. We were trying to hold back our frustration," said Husky senior coxswain Mary Whipple. "Quite honestly, it was a really hard race just enduring the heat and trying to be quick and light when we felt so heavy and tired because of being in the sun so long."
Brown won the other semifinal in 6:53.65. The grand final features a showdown between the undefeated Washington and Brown crews that between them have won all five previous NCAA varsity eight titles. The defending champion Huskies raced to victories in 1997, 1998 and 2001 while the Bears won in 1999 and 2000.
"We train basically with Brown in mind from the beginning of the season because it's hard to get a lot of really close competition on the West Coast," said junior Heidi Hurn. "Cal and Stanford are definitely on the rise, but Brown is the best of the best out here and we want them. We're pumped to go against them because we don't want there to be any mistakes as to who is the best."
Washington's chances at defending its team title were dealt a blow when the varsity four boat failed to advance to the grand final. Brown, the 1999 and 2000 team champion, is the only school to qualify a boat in each of the three grand finals. No team has ever won the NCAA women's team title without an entry in all three championship races.
The team champion is determined by a combination of results from the varsity eight, second varsity and varsity four competitions. Top-ranked Washington captured its third team title last spring by virtue of first-place performances by the varsity eight and varsity four and a runner-up effort by the second varsity. The Huskies also won team championships in 1997 and 1998.
To retain its team title, the Huskies will need to defeat Brown in both of the eights races and hope that some other schools also finish ahead of the Bears.
"We need points in the four for the team title and to not make the final makes it more difficult," UW Coach Jan Harville remarked. "They have to go out tomorrow, regroup and challenge themselves to come out and try to win the petite final because you get points for that race also. Overall, it's a disappointment, but we're not done yet."
The NCAA regatta concludes Sunday with the championship races. Washington boats will race in the varsity and second varsity grand finals and the varsity four petite final.
The Husky second varsity (previously known as junior varsity) earned an automatic berth into the championship race by virtue of its heat victory on Friday.
Despite leading for the first half of the race Saturday, the Huskies' varsity four boat dropped to third place in its semifinal heat in which the top two finishers earned berths into the six-boat grand final. The UW four, which won the last three national championships, will be unable to defend its title. Instead, the Huskies' varsity four will compete in the petite final, while still scoring points for the overall team championship.
The UW fours opened a slight lead and maintained it throughout the opening 1,000 meters. At the midway point, crews from Michigan State and Yale sprinted past and held off a late Husky surge to finish first and second, respectively. Michigan State covered the course in 7:44.52. Yale had a second-place time of 7:46.85, one-boat length ahead of Washington which finished in 7:51.31.
Complete NCAA Women's Rowing Championship results are available at: www.row2k.com
NCAA WOMEN'S ROWING CHAMPIONSHIPS
Heat II -- 1, Brown 6:53.65. 2, Princeton 6:54.00. 3, Stanford 6:57.03. 4, USC 6:59.07. 5, Harvard 7:03.76. 6, Michigan 7:12.11.
Heat II -- 1. Michigan State 7:44.52. 2, Yale 7:46.85. 3, WASHINGTON 7:51.31. 4, Princeton 7:52.04. Stanford 7:55.18.
SCHEDULE FOR SUNDAY, JUNE 2
Varsity Eight Petite Final -- Syracuse, Harvard, Yale, USC, Virginia, Michigan.
Second Eight Grand Final -- Virginia, Yale, Brown, WASHINGTON, Michigan State, Michigan.
Second Eight Petite Final -- Stanford, California, Ohio State, Princeton, Harvard, Syracuse.
Varsity Four Grand Final -- Michigan, Michigan State, Brown, Harvard, Virginia,Yale.
Varsity Four Petite Final -- Syracuse, Princeton, California, WASHINGTON, Ohio State, Stanford.