WWU wins all four races at regatta
Varsity eight, JV eight, varsity four and novice four grab gold
GOLD RIVER, Calif. -- Western Washington posted grand final victories in all four of its races Sunday in the school’s finest performance at the Western Intercollegiate Rowing Association Championship Regatta held at the Sacramento State Aquatic Center on Lake Natoma.
The Vikings, ranked No.1 in the Collegiate Rowing Coaches Association NCAA Division II Poll, had gold medal performances in the varsity four, junior varsity eight and varsity eight grand finals for Division II, Division III and club entries as well as the novice four in all categories.
Western was unbeaten in seven races at the two-day event. The Vikings won all three of their qualifying heats Saturday, each with the fastest time of the field.
“It was as good as it gets,” Western coach John Fuchs said, who was named WIRA Coach of the Year. “This just doesn’t happen. Every rower has a gold medal around her neck.”
“The course was very fast today. They went to work and stayed in touch with what they needed to do.”
The performance clinches another trip to the NCAA national championships for Western as the West Region representative. The official announcement will be made May 17.
The Vikings, winners of the last six NCAA II national titles, have not lost to a non-Division I school in varsity competition this spring. The NCAA Championships will be held May 27-29 at the same venue as the WIRA Regatta.
On Sunday, Western’s varsity eight was clocked in 6:36.5 over the 2,000-meter course, winning by three boat lengths against second-place Seattle Pacific (6:45.7), the defending champion. Humboldt State (6:46.4) was third in the six-boat race.
The Vikings’ junior varsity eight crossed the finish line in 7:07.2, less than three seconds ahead of runner-up Willamette (7:09.9) in a five-school run.
Western’s novice four (8:08.4) and varsity four (7:46.0) posted two and three boat length victories, respectively, both against Humboldt State, in six-boat races.
The Vikings did not compete at WIRA regatta last year after the varsity four and varsity eight won gold medals with grand final victories in 2009.