WEST WINDSOR, N.J. – No. 3 Nova Southeastern advanced both its varsity eight and four boats onto Sunday’s Grand Final of the 2012 NCAA Rowing Championships, securing victories in their respective heats Friday. Rowing on Lake Mercer in West Windsor, N.J., the Sharks’ varsity eight topped seven-time defending national champion No. 1 Western Washington by less than three seconds, while NSU’s varsity four made a late charge to defeat No. 4 Mercyhurst by about 10 seconds.

Going up against WWU and No. 5 Central Oklahoma in their heat, the Sharks’ varsity eight was able to take an early one-half of a boat length lead that extended to about three-quarters at the 1,000-meter mark. WWU began to fight back, gaining a seat back every hundred yards to close the Sharks’ lead to just one or two seats heading into the final 500 meters.

NSU showed its resiliency though, reestablishing its three-quarters of a boat length lead in the final 500 meters to capture the heat and earn a spot in Sunday’s Grand Final. The Sharks came across the finish line with a time of 6:53.89, beating WWU who came across in 6:56.41.

The Sharks’ varsity eight featured: coxswain Caroline Kelly, Taylor Van Horn, Lauren Boudreau, Stephanie Hauck, Victoria Ciccone,  Megan O'Donnell, Remi McClellan, Camille Evans and Sarah Patterson.

Similarly in the varsity four race, the Sharks jumped out to an early lead, taking a four-seat advantage into the final 1,000 meters of rowing. NSU continued to build on its lead, extending its margin to a full boat length with just 500 meters left. At the finish line, the Sharks had pulled away from Mercyhurst to capture a 10.52 second victory.

The Sharks’ varsity four boat was comprised of: coxswain Heather Clayton, Jessica Sutter, Amanda Craig, Caitlin Mooney and Kelly Scott.

No. 2 Humboldt State also automatically qualified both its eight and four boats onto Sunday’s Grand Final, winning the other heats. The varsity eights from WWU, Central Oklahoma, Mercyhurst and No. 8 Barry will meet in Saturday’s Repechage at 10:30 a.m. with the top-two finishers earning the final two spots in the Grand Final. Mercyhurst and WWU’s varsity fours will also compete in a Repechage Saturday at 10:45 a.m. to determine the final participant in the Grand Final of that event.