2005 Women's Rowing Championships: Day OneMay 27, 2005

RANCHO CORDOVA, Calif. -- The 2005 NCAA Women's Rowing Championships kicked off today under clear skies on Lake Natoma at the CSUS Aquatic Center. Brown (Div. I), Mercyhurst (Div. II) and Ithaca (Div. III) each began defense of their 2004 national championships as Brown is attempting to win back-to-back championships for the second time (1999-00).

Top-ranked Cal and seventh-ranked Virginia each performed impressively in the first day of competition. The Bears, who just won their second-straight Pacific-10 Conference championship two weeks ago at Lake Natoma, finished first in both their varsity eight and second varsity eight heats, as well as a second-place finish in their varsity four heat. Virginia, which has placed at least seventh in the team competition at each of the eight previous NCAA Women's Rowing Championships, placed second in its varsity eight heat, and first in both its second varsity eight and varsity four heats.

Yale, Cal, Princeton, Virginia, Harvard, Stanford, Tennessee, Michigan, Washington, Ohio State, Brown and USC all advanced to the semifinals of the varsity eight event (which take place Saturday at 10:30 a.m. and 10:45 a.m.).

Yale kicked off the three-day event by winning the day's first race (Div. I Eights, Heat 1) with a time of 6:22.06, followed by Virginia (6:22.83) and Brown (6:23.50) to round out the top three, respectively. In heat two of the Div. I Eights, Princeton was victorious with a time of 6:21.00, followed by Harvard (6:24.36) and Ohio State (6:24.42) to round out the top three. Cal won heat three with a time of 6:26.08, followed by Stanford (6:31.35) and Washington (6:33.49). The top three finishers in each of the varsity eight heats automatically advanced to the semifinals tomorrow. Michigan, Tennessee and USC qualified for the varsity eight semifinals after clinching the top three spots, respectively, in this afternoon's repechage.

In the Div. I second varsity eight competition, Virginia and Cal posted the top times in their respective heats, automatically advancing to Sunday's grand final at 11 a.m. Brown, Michigan, Yale, USC and Princeton will race each other in Saturday's first repechage race (10 a.m.) while Ohio State, Michigan State, Harvard, Washington and Wisconsin will square off in the second repechage (10:15 a.m.). The top two finishers in each repechage advance to Sunday's second varsity eight grand final.

In the Div. I fours event, Virginia and Washington earned the top spots in their respective heats, automatically advancing to the grand final on Sunday (10:45 a.m.). In the first heat, Virginia finished with a time of 7:20.37, followed by Brown, Michigan, Yale, Princeton and Harvard, respectively. In the second heat, Washington raced to a first-place time of 7:25.22, followed by Cal, Wisconsin, USC, Ohio State and Michigan State, respectively. The repechages of the fours competition will take place on Saturday, with the top two finishers in each rep advancing to Sunday's grand final. Brown, Wisconsin, Yale, Ohio State and Harvard will square off in the first repechage while Cal, Michigan, USC, Princeton and Michigan State will take face each other in the second repechage.

In the Div. II eights competition, Mercyhurst, Nova Southeastern and Western Washington all advanced to the Sunday's grand final, which begins at 10:15 a.m. Barry, Florida Tech and UC San Diego will square off in Saturday morning's repechage with the winner of that race advancing to the grand final.

Western Washington and Mercyhurst will also be competing in the Div. II fours grand final on Sunday (9:45 a.m.). Florida Tech and Nova Southeastern will be racing in Saturday's repechage for the remaining spot in the grand final.

Trinity and Ithaca were each winners of their heats in the Div. III eights category. Those two schools will be joined by Smith, Puget Sound, Williams and Colby who advanced by finishing first through fourth, respectively, in today's grand qualifier) in Saturday's grand final at 11:30 a.m. Smith II, Ithaca II, Coast Guard, Puget Sound II, Tufts and Trinity II will each compete in Saturday's petite final (11:15 a.m.).

All 30 crews return to action on Saturday, May 28, for the second day of the championships. Racing kicks off with the Div. II eights repechage at 9 a.m., and concludes with the Div. III eights grand final. The Div. III national champion will be crowned on Saturday while the Div. I and Div. II national champions will be crowned on Sunday.

--Courtesy Sacramento State