Western Washington's Varsity 4 wins, advances to championship race
INDIANAPOLIS -- Western Washington's Varsity 4 won its qualifying heat by five boat lengths Friday, advancing to Sunday's grand finals at the NCAA Division II Women's Rowing National Championships being held at the Eagle Creek Reservoir.
The Vikings' Varsity 8 placed second in its qualifying heat and now must place among the top two in a four-boat repechage heat Saturday in order to get in the grand final.
"The main thing is to get both boats in the grand finals and then we go from there," WWU head coach John Fuchs said. "It's all going to be pretty tight from here on out."
WWU's four posted a winning time of 8:25.3 in Friday's win on the 2,000-meter course with Mercyhurst a distant second (8:55.1).
Seated in that boat were coxswain Kate Nelson, stroke Audra Massey, No.3 Catrina Cuadra, No.2 Yvette Kelp and bow Sara Crowell. All of them were making their national debut.
"The four has been solid all year long and they had another strong performance," Fuchs said.
The Vikings' V8 finished two boat lengths behind Nova Southeastern in its qualifying heat with a time of 7:37.3. Nova Southeastern, which led by more than a boat length after the first 500 meters, won in 7:27.8. Mercyhurst was third in 7:59.8.
"We didn't have a very good start and did not row anywhere close to our potential," Fuchs said.
Nova Southeastern advanced both its four and eight to the grand finals, having an open-water victory (8:22.4) in the other four heat with Barry second (8:30.6).
Barry easily won the first eight heat with a 7:25.9 clocking, the best time of the two heats. Central Oklahoma was second in 7:35.0 and UC San Diego third in 7:37.0.
Saturday's eight repechage is slated for 8:40 a.m. ET with WWU rowing against Central Oklahoma, Mercyhurst and UC San Diego. UC San Diego and Central Oklahoma received at-large berths to nationals and are not eligible for the team title.