GOLD RIVER, Calif. – Five schools led by No. 2, California and No. 3 Ohio State advanced all three boats directly to Saturday’s A/B semifinals after the first day of racing at the 2016 NCAA Rowing Championships Friday at Lake Natoma. Additionally, No. 5 Virginia, No. 6 Stanford and No. 8 Texas also had all three boats finish first or second in their heats on the first day.

In the Varsity Eight heats, the rankings all held as the top-seeded boat from California posted the fastest time among all four heats, coming across in 6:15.958, more than two seconds ahead of Texas in the first heat. Also posting heat victories were Stanford (6:20.073), Ohio State (6:19.189) and Princeton (6:20.824). After trailing at the 500 meter mark, Stanford crept back in midway through the race and pulled through for a nearly two-second win over Michigan in Heat 2. In Heat 3, Ohio State never trailed in crossing the line with a four-second win over Brown while Princeton crossed just ahead of Virginia in the closest race of the day, winning by .7 seconds in Heat 4. All eight boats advanced directly to Saturday’s A/B semifinals.

Also advancing to the A/B semifinals in the Varsity Eight races were Wisconsin and Washington with repechage victories, along with Southern California and Syracuse.

In the Second Varsity Eight races, Heat 1 proved to have the closest finish as the top-ranked boat from Brown (6:27.669) crossed the finish line less than two seconds ahead of Stanford. California (6:27.669), Ohio State (6:28.753) and Washington (6:30.473) also captured heat victories, while Stanford, Texas, Princeton and Virginia also advanced directly to Saturday’s A/B semifinals.

In the afternoon repechage races, Wisconsin and Yale captured victories, with Washington State and Michigan also advancing to the semifinals.

In the Varsity Four heats, Yale and Texas battled in the closest heat of the morning, with Yale (7:18.168) winning by 1.2 seconds. Virginia (7:17.117) had the fastest time of the day in winning Heat 3 while California (7:19.909) and Washington (7:18.986) also captured heat victories. By finishing second in their heats, Stanford, Texas and Michigan, all of whom came from Lane 3, along with Ohio State moved directly into Saturday’s A/B semifinals. Also moving into the A/B semifinals were Brown and Indiana with repechage victories, while Wisconsin and Princeton also advancing.

In Division II action, top-ranked Barry captured heat victories in both the Varsity Eight and Varsity Four races. In the V8 race, Barry cruised to a six-second victory over Humboldt State in the first heat while Western Washington, ranked No. 4 nationally, recorded the fastest time of the morning, crossing the line in 6:54.679, nearly six seconds ahead of No. 2 Central Oklahoma.

In the Varsity Four heats, Barry captured a convincing win over Mercyhurst, coming across the line in 7:46.596, posting more than a 26 second victory. The second heat of the V4 came required all 2000 meters to determine a winner as Central Oklahoma crossed in 7:49.045, edging out Western Washington, which finished in a time of 7:51.865.

The Division III races saw top-ranked Williams finish with the fastest time in the Varsity Eight heats. The Ephs captured the first heat with a five-second victory over No. 3 Wesleyan in a time of 6:41. 729, with Ithaca and William Smith finishing third and fourth, respectively. In the second heat, Wellesley came out of lane three to secure a nearly four-second victory over No. 2 Bates, winning in a time of 6:42.998. The two boats were .1 seconds apart at 1500 meters before Wellesley pulled away over the final quarter of the race. Pacific Lutheran finished third and Washington College fourth.

In Friday afternoon’s repechage race, Pacific Lutheran never trailed as it crossed the line with a 2.4-second victory over Ithaca. Those two move into Saturday’s Grand Final, joining Williams, Bates, Wesleyan and Pacific Lutheran. Washington College (third) and William Smith (fourth) advance to Saturday’s Petite Final.

In the Second Varsity Eight heats, Wellesley again flexed its muscle as it started fast and extended its lead throughout the race, finishing in 6:54.236, a 19-second win over Pacific Lutheran in the first heat. Washington College finished third in the race. Bates never trailed in the second heat and pulled away late for an eight-second win over Williams, crossing the line in 6:46.991. William Smith finished third in the heat.

Friday afternoon’s repechage race saw Williams come out of Lane 2 for a four-second victory over Pacific Lutheran. Those two boats join Friday morning heat winners Wellesley and Bates in Saturday’s Grand Final. William Smith and Washington College finished third and fourth, respectively, in the repechage.

The 2016 NCAA Rowing Championships continues Saturday from Lake Natoma beginning at 8:12 a.m. with Division I leading things off. Division III will crown its national champions beginning at 11 a.m.