Huskies Crews Set Stage for NCAA Grand Finals

May 25, 2001

GAINESVILLE, Ga. -- The Washington women's varsity eight endured athree-hour weather delay and then went on to win its semi-final heat andset up all three Husky crews for grand finals racing at the NCAA RowingChampionships on Lake Lanier.

Washington is one of only three schools, among the 10 team entries in thefield, to have its first and second varsity eights and its varsity four ingrand finals on Saturday. Brown, winners of the last two NCAA team titles(1999, 00), and Michigan are the others. Washington and Brown will battlefor the team tie breaker in this fifth year of the NCAA Championships, asthe Huskies won the first two team titles, in 1997 and 98.

After a three-hour delay in the race schedule, because of strong rain,thunder and lightening, the Husky varsity eight shot off the line and ledfrom start to finish in its semi-final, winning in a time of 6:49.90.Racing in a strong head wind that had picked up since the first semi-finalheat, Princeton chased the Huskies all the way down the course, but nevercould pull ahead, as the Huskies maintained at least a two seat lead thewhole way. Washington had a strong second half of the race, increasing itslead on the Tigers to six seats after the crews crossed the 1,000-metermark. Syracuse moved on Princeton and pulled even over the final 100meters of the race, but the Tigers had the edge, crossing at 6:53.53 withSyracuse just a shade behind at 6:53.98.

It was a west coast day for racing as Southern California won the firstsemi-final heat. The Trojans, the that that handed Washington its onlyloss this season, led from start to finish to cross the line at 6:43.30,ahead of both undefeated Michigan at 6:45.85, and two-time defendingchampion and undefeated Brown at 6:52.17.

The semi-finals set up an exciting field for the grand final. Washington,which redeemed its early season loss to USC with a solid win at the Pac-10Championships, has not dropped a race since that loss in April and hasthree seniors - Nicole Rogers, Nicole Borges and team captain Rika Geyser,who will be rowing in their final race as Huskies. Michigan, making onlyits third appearance in an NCAA varsity eight grand final, has neverfinished better than fifth on this event. The third place finish by Brownin its semi-final heat was its first loss in a 2,000-meter race since1997. As two-time defending team champions, they enter the grand finalhaving also won this event the last two years. Princeton and Syracuse,both coached by former Washington rowers, are ranked fourth and fifth inthe country, respectively.

It all comes down to one race and its going to be a barnburner, saidCarrie Stasiak, who rows in the three seat of the varsity eight. Id loveto watch it, but Id love even more to row in it. I think were ready. Thethree seniors in the boat are really ready. We are looking forward to it.

Its going to be a photo finish-type day, added junior varsity coxswainAnne Hessburg, who helped engineer a photo finish in the junior varsityheat Thursday.

Grand Final Race Schedule - Saturday, May 26 (Lanes 1-6, left to right)

Varsity Four - 10:20 a.m.
Ohio State, Washington, Michigan, Brown, Iowa, Virginia

II Varsity Eight (junior varsity) - 11:00 a.m.
Ohio State, Washington, Michigan, Brown, Harvard, Virginia

I Varsity Eight - 11:40 a.m.
Syracuse, Michigan, Southern California, Washington, Princeton, Brown

###

NCAA Rowing Championships
Friday, May 25, 2001
Lake Lanier (2,000-meters), Gainesville, Ga.

Varsity Eight Semi-Final Results (top three to grand final, all others topetite final)

(sunny, warm, slight head wind)
Heat 1: Southern California 6:43:30. 2, Michigan 6:45.85. 3, Brown6:52.17. 4, Harvard 6:57.09. 5, Boston U. 6:57.25. 6, Ohio State 7:00.15.

(sunny, warm, strong head wind)
Heat 2: 1, Washington 6:49.90. 2, Princeton 6:53.53. 3, Syracuse 6:53.98.4, California 6:59.20. 5, Michigan State 7:03.85. 6, Yale 7:05.36.

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