INDIANAPOLIS -- Trinity (Conn.) made history on Saturday morning, capturing its first NCAA Division III national championship. The Bantams earned 30 points with their exciting first varsity eight win against Williams and took the title by earning 10 additional points with a second-place finish in the second varsity eight race at Eagle Creek Park in the final regatta of the year.
After a third-place finish last season, Trinity put together an impressive season of work to top New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) foe Bates and the nine-time defending champion Ephs.
"It's been a long process to get here and one that has required a great deal of effort over time," Trinity head coach Wesley Ng said. "It's a testament to the shared experiences that this team has had over time that they kept grinding away to get better. We talk about our brand of rowing and they were disciplined all year and it finally paid off."In the opening races Friday, the second varsity eight cruised to a nine-second victory in its heat. The first varsity eight had a tougher go and finished second behind Williams in its morning heat. Ng met with the team after the races on Friday and decided to try a different approach in Saturday's Grand Final.
"We demonstrated anxiety in the opening race and we didn't execute our race plan correctly," Ng added. "After analysis, we practiced this morning and took a more conservative approach in the beginning of the race. To their credit, they didn't get anxious and stuck to their game plan. It paid off and I'm proud of them."
For the second season in row, the second varsity eight crew earned a silver medal in the grand final. Ng is quick to point out that a majority of the second varsity crew raced last season at third varsity and stepped up throughout the year to earn their place atop the team standings.
In the first varsity eight race, Trinity won in a time of 7:06.33 with the Ephs clocking a 7:08.05. Wellesley finished in 7:13.08, Bates in 7:13.37, Wesleyan in 7:22.68, while Washington (Md.) posted a time of 7:44.45. Bates led for the first 1,000 meters and Williams took a slight edge at the 1,500-meter mark. With around 300 yards to go, the Bantams made their move on both of their conference rivals.
In the second varsity eight race, Bates led throughout and Trinity was comfortably in second. The Bantams recorded a time of 07:29.42 to top third-place Wesleyan by four seconds.
This was the 13th NCAA Division III Rowing Championship for women and the NESCAC has won 11 of the 13 titles (Williams 9, Colby 1 & Trinity 1), with Ithaca (2004 & '05) claiming the two titles won by a non-NESCAC member.
First Varsity Eight Crew: Gwendolyn Schoch (Cox), Jillian Zieff (8), Renee Swetz (7), Madeleine Boudreau (6), Kathryn Hibbard (5), Julia Kelling (4), Catherine Guariglia (3), Rose Lichtenfels (2)and Claire Barkin (1).
Second Varsity Eight Crew: Sarah Keane (Cox), Julia Vresilovic (8), Margaret Doyle (7), Kiely MacMahon (6), Cristina Pretto (5), Lauren Yianilos (4), Sarah Black (3), Margaret Ciocca (2) and Meredith Apfelbaum (1).