SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. -- For the third time in as many seasons, No. 3 William Smith captured the Liberty League Women's Rowing Championship with a dominating performance on Fish Creek. The Herons claimed the title, which goes to the winner of the Varsity 8 race, by open water against No. 12 St. Lawrence, RIT, Skidmore and Union.

In calm, flat conditions, the William Smith Varsity 8 defended its Liberty League title with a 2,000-meter time of 6:44.0, defeating the second-place Saints by 13.37 seconds. The Saints were followed by RIT, Skidmore and Union.

Kim Goral, Jess Steketee, Lauren Blake-Whitney, Sinead Reilly, Katie Paige, Sarah Gordon, Laura Cappio, Libby Hughes and Alyssa Trebilcock powered the Varsity 8 to victory. Five members of the Varsity 8, Goral, Blake-Whitney, Gordon, Paige and Steketee, have won three consecutive Liberty League gold medals, while Reilly and Trebilcock have earned back-to-back titles.

The Heron second Varsity 8, Katie Lehmann, Emily Shelden, Carissa Boire, Caroline DeWeirdt, Emma Tiedemann, Emma Dow, Eliza Orrick, Morgan Burgess and Leila Peraro, also earned an impressive victory, logging a time of 7:01.05 to top St. Lawrence by 11.18 seconds with Union taking third. William Smith battled the Saints from the start through the first 500 meters. Then, after a strong move, the Herons were able to open their margin during the next 1,500, charging hard in the last 250.

The closest race of the day was between RIT and William Smith in the Novice 8. The Tigers nipped the Herons by 0.51 seconds, posting a time of 7:20.43 to WS's 7:20.94.

"We were proud to represent Heron rowing and William Smith College," head coach Sandra Chu said. "The Varsity 8 obviously had a great race and commanded the field from the start, but the 2V had the race of the day. Its decisive margin over St. Lawrence should move the team into first place in the NCAA regional rankings. That win was pivotal and they really stepped up to the pressure that was on them. I could not have asked for a better reaction to that or a better race. They have really elevated their game."