2005 Women's Rowing Championships: Day TwoMay 28, 2005

RANCHO CORDOVA, Calif. -- Ithaca and Smith both finished with 10 points in the Div. III team championship, but Ithaca was crowned national champions by virtue of finishing ahead of Smith in the grand final to highlight the second day of the NCAA Women's Rowing Championships Saturday morning at an overcast and windy CSUS Aquatic Center on Lake Natoma.

Ithaca, which also won last year's Div. III championship at Lake Natoma, finished ahead of Smith, Trinity (11), Puget Sound (13), Williams (16) and Colby (18) in the team standings. Trinity won the varsity eight grand final with a time of 6:51.24, but did not score well enough in the petite final to win the team title. The Div. III scoring system assigns point values to teams in both the grand and petite finals. Ithaca finished second in the grand final and third in the petite final to score its 10 points. Smith finished first in the petite final and third in the grand final, and Trinity finished sixth in the petite final and first in the grand final. The Div. III championships consisted of six teams which each field two varsity eight boats (Trinity, Colby, Ithaca, Puget Sound, Smith, and Williams) at two at-large varsity eight boats (Coast Guard and Tufts).

Trailing Trinity in the grand final were Ithaca (6:57.04), Smith (7:01.35), Puget Sound (7:03.02), Williams (7:03.44) and Colby (7:11.73).

At the beginning of the year, I wasnt sure we would be back in this position," Ithaca head coach Becky Robinson said. "As things began to unfold, I definitely recognized that Trinitys varsity eight was very strong and clearly ahead of the rest of the crews. We started talking about other ways we could win the championship as a team and what we needed to do at the varsity and second varsity eight levels.

Our second varsity eight rowed the best race they have ever rowed today. If our varsity eight didnt row its best race, it was definitely close to the best race of the season. That was a secondary goal this year, to get better every single time we performed this season, and they did that today.

Ithaca also beat out Smith at last year's national championship regatta, as Colby (2003) and Williams (2002) won the other two titles since the NCAA began having separate championships for Div. I, Div. II and Div. III.

This is unbelievable, I cant even describe what it feels like," Ithaca's Meghan Musnicki (four seat of the varsity eight) said. "To be crowned national champions two years in a row, I couldnt have imagined doing this with another group of ladies.

It was a great race and Trinity (the varsity eight champions) is a great crew. We rowed our hardest and our best, and were more than pleased with the outcome.

Added teammate Jessica Selock (who sat in the five seat with the varsity eight), "Last year when we finished (first in the varsity eight competition), we knew we had won the championship. This year, we didnt know and we had to look to the shore at our second varsity eight, who was screaming with joy. To pull out a team championship feels awesome.

In the petite final of the Div. III eights event, Smith II raced to a winning time of 7:01.88, followed by Coast Guard I (7:07.31), Ithaca II (7:09.01), Puget Sound II (7:15.57), Tufts I (7:18.28) and Trinity II (7:19.24).

In Saturday's Div. I competition, Cal and Virginia each advanced all three of its boats (varsity eight, second varsity eight and varsity four) to the grand final events. Both schools are seeking their first national championship. Defending national champions Brown did not reach the grand final of the varsity eight competition, making it highly unlikely the Bears will repeat as champions.

The varsity eight grand final field (Cal, Princeton, Yale, Harvard, Virginia and Ohio State) was decided via two semifinal heats that took place this morning. Princeton (6:35.77), Yale (6:39.47) and Ohio State (6:39.67) finished in the top three spots, respectively, in the first semifinal while Cal (6:32.62), Harvard (6:38.33) and Virginia (6:40.54) finished among the top three, respectively, in the second semifinal. Michigan State, Wisconsin, UCLA and Syracuse did not reach the petite or grand finals in the varsity eight event. Tomorrow's varsity eight petite final (11:45 a.m.) will be comprised of Brown, Michigan, Stanford, Washington, USC and Tennessee.

Cal and Virginia both earned a spot in the grand finals of Sunday's Div. I second varsity eight competition (11:15 a.m.) after finishing first in Friday's heats. In today's first repechage, Brown (6:44.68) and Michigan (6:46.86) earned a spot in the grand finals after finishing first and second, respectively. In the second repechage, Ohio State (6:48.79) and Michigan State (6:49.03) were victorious to advance to the grand final. Yale, Washington, Harvard, Princeton, Wisconsin and USC will compete on Sunday (11 a.m.) in the petite final.

In the Div. I fours competition, Brown (7:27.21) and Wisconsin (7:30.45) earned a spot in the grand finals by virtue of finishing first and second, respectively, in today's first repechage. Cal (7:24.28) and USC (7:27.26) will also compete in tomorrow's final (10:45 a.m.) after finishing among the top two boats in the second repechage. Washington and Virginia, who were victorious in yesterday's heats, will join those four teams in the grand final. The petite final field is comprised of Michigan, Yale, Michigan State, Ohio State, Harvard and Princeton.

In the Div. II category, Barry (7:06.75) won the morning's varsity eight repechage, advancing to Sunday's grand final (10:15 a.m.) with Western Washington, Mercyhurst and Nova Southeastern. The petite final on Sunday (10 a.m.) will include Florida Tech and UC San Diego. Florida Tech (8:27.21) won the varsity four repechage to advance to tomorrow's grand final (9:45 a.m.) against Western Washington and Mercyhurst.

Sunday will conclude the 2005 NCAA Women's Rowing Championships as a Div. I and Div. II national champion will be crowned. The day kicks off at 9:45 a.m., and concludes with the Div. I eights grand final at noon. The Div. II champion will be crowned at an awards ceremony at 11:30 a.m., while the Div. I champion will be honored at a 12:45 p.m. awards ceremony.

--Courtesy Sacramento State