2005 Women's Rowing Championships: Day ThreeMay 29, 2005

RANCHO CORDOVA, Calif. -- Under partly cloudy skies and a light breeze at the CSUS Aquatic Center, Cal placed first in the varsity eight grand final and captured the team title to win its first-ever Div. I national championship at the third and final day of the 2005 NCAA Women's Rowing Championships Sunday morning. Cal's best finish prior to this year was a third-place finish in 2002.

Cal's 67 points in the team standings edged Virginia (63), Brown (49), Ohio State (42), Princeton (39), Harvard (39), Yale (38), Michigan (35), Washington (31), Michigan State (27), USC (25) and Wisconsin (13). Virginia placed first in both the varsity four and second varsity eight grand finals, but its fourth-place finish in the varsity eight (three spots behind Cal) allowed the Bears to pass them up for the team title. Cal, which placed second in the second varsity eight grand final and fourth in the varsity four grand final, entered the championships ranked first in the nation after winning its second-straight Pacific-10 Conference championships two weeks ago at Lake Natoma. Virginia entered the regatta ranked seventh in the nation.

In the Div. II category, Western Washington captured its first national title, easily placing first in both the varsity four and varsity eight grand finals. Western Washington finished as the runner-ups in both 2002 and 2003, before winning the crown today. The Vikings (20 points) finished ahead of Mercyhurst (12 points), Nova Southeastern (11 points) and Florida Tech (seven points). Since Div. II began running a separate championship in 2002, Western Washington's eight-point margin of victory was the largest over that four-year span. This year's runner-up, Mercyhurst won the national title last season by one point over Humboldt State.

Ithaca won the Div. III national championship yesterday for the second-straight year, finishing ahead of Smith, Trinity, Puget Sound, Williams and Colby.

Cal, which was making its eighth appearance in the nine-year history of the NCAA Rowing Championships, scored 36 points in the varsity eight competition, 22 points in the second varsity eight competition and nine points in the varsity four for its total of 67 points. The Bears' winning time of 6:20.74 in the varsity eight grand final was the fastest time of any race during the three-day regatta.

Virginia, which is one of four crews to advance to the NCAA Championships all nine years, matched its best finish at the regatta (the Cavaliers were also runner-ups in 1999). Brown, which has won four national titles (including last year's championship), has now finished at least third in the team standings at all nine NCAA Rowing Championship events.

In the Div. I varsity eight grand final, Cal's time of 6:20.74 was faster than Princeton (6:22.80), Harvard (6:23.86), Virginia (6:24.22), Yale (6:25.89) and Ohio State (6:26.96). In the varsity eight petite final, Brown won with a time of 6:24.65, followed by Tennessee, Michigan, USC, Stanford and Washington, respectively.

In the Div. I varsity four grand final, Virginia raced to a 2,000-meter winning time of 7:18.42, followed by Brown (7:20.08), Washington (7:20.15), Cal (7:22.49), Wisconsin (7:23.53) and USC (7:25.26). In the varsity four petite final, Michigan won with a time of 7:25.4, followed by Michigan State, Yale, Ohio State, Princeton and Harvard, respectively.

Virginia also captured the second varsity eight grand final championship with a time of 6:34.19. Behind Virginia were Cal (6:36.48), Brown (6:38.98), Ohio State (6:40.60), Michigan State (6:40.69) and Michigan (6:47.39). In the second varsity eight petite final, Washington posted a first-place time of 6:38.24, followed by Yale, Harvard, USC, Princeton and Wisconsin, respectively.

In the Div. II varsity eight grand final, Western Washington's 2000-meter time of 6:48.72 was faster than second-place Nova Southeastern (6:55.91), Mercyhurst (6:59.92) and Barry (7:07.35). The Vikings won the varsity four grand final with a time of 7:46.82, more than 20 seconds faster than second-place Mercyhurst (8:07.78) and Florida Tech (8:09.34). Mercyhurst earned national runner-up honors by finishing second in the varsity four grand final and third in the varsity eight grand final.

In the Div. II varsity eight petite final, UC San Diego (7:02.24) beat Florida Tech (7:05.68). Both Barry and UC San Diego were at-large selections and did not score points towards the team championship.

WESTERN WASHINGTON QUOTES

Head Coach John Fuchs: "Weve been the bridesmaids for way too long (in reference to two second-place finishes at the NCAA Championships), and to be able to finally break through is a great feeling.

"You cant ask for anything more than what our teams did on the water today. They have performed well all season and to come here and peak and perform to perfection - hats off to them.

"This is the best venue in the country and I know we have to move it around, but we always feel like we are at home. The people here run a real quality event and everybody has been great."

Lindsay Mann-King: "Were very excited about winning our first championship. We put in a lot of hard work, came out here and got the job done."

Kailyn McGrath: "I think in every race, we consistently got better and it showed. We were confident and calm and I think that is what really got us through to the end."

CALIFORNIA QUOTES

Megan Smith: "At the beginning of the season, we set this goal. Last year, it was to win Pac-10s, and this year, it was to win the NCAA championship. Every practice, we learned to race our own race and how to reach that goal.

"Ultimately everyone was more focused then I have ever seen the team and we were completely together, calm and controlled. You could tell from all our races today, we were always racing our own race."

Candice Rediger: "The road here took a lot of hard work and a lot of dedication. Everyone has been really focused all year and willing to put in the work.

"The last three days have been really intense. It has been a calm and confident feeling, but everyone knew what they had to do and we got the job done."

Head Coach Dave ONeill: "Coming into this year, the goal was to win the NCAA championship. The main thing was to treat every day and every race the same. We dont need to do anything differently on race day than we do every day in practice. This team really took that to heart. This particular crew, every day in practice, they never had a bad day. They kept on challenging themselves and holding everyone to a high standard.

"There have been a lot of behind-the-scenes stuff going on the last three days, because of a health issue with our varsity crew and that affects everybody. It has been a bit of an emotional roller coaster, but my job has been to keep everyone focused on what they need to do and only worry about themselves."

--Courtesy Sacramento State