Varsity 8 Wins NCAA Opening Heat with Ease

May 27, 2005

RANCHO CORDOVA - Cal's No. 1-ranked women's varsity 8 easily qualified for the semifinals at the NCAA championships Friday with a five-second victory in its opening heat at the CSUS Aquatic Center on Lake Natoma.

In addition, Golden Bears' second varsity 8 won its heat and Cal's varsity 4 made a late charge to take second in its heat.

'For the varsity 8, it went very much according to plan,' head coach Dave O'Neill said. 'They raced their race and took control. The second varsity rebounded from an illness to one of the rowers the last couple of days and had one of its best races of the year. And the four also had its best race of the season. We know it has the closing speed to get to the grand final, which is the goal for all of our boats.'

Racing in Heat 3, the Bear varsity 8 covered the 2000-meter course in 6:26.08, outdistancing Pac-10 foes Stanford (6:31.35) and Washington (6:33.49). Michigan State (6:36.36) and Syracuse (6:46.01) finished fourth and fifth, respectively, in the field.

Cal led from wire to wire, building a 0.62-second advantage with a 1:31.94 split over the first 500 meters. The lead reached nearly three seconds at the halfway point, and the Bears continued to build their lead through the finish.

The two other varsity 8 heats were much more competitive, with fourth-ranked Princeton edging Harvard, 6:21.00 to 6:24.36 in Heat 1, and No. 2 Yale holding off Virginia, 6:22.06 to 6:22.83, in Heat 3.

In the second varsity race, Cal again led from start to finish, crossing the line in 6:39.55, more than five seconds in front of Ohio State (6:44.87).

The varsity 4 race proved to be the Bears' most challenging of the day. After sitting in fourth place after each of the first three stages, Cal put in a blistering 1:52.43 split over the final 500 meters to pass both Wisconsin and USC for second place, trailing only Washington.

With their results Friday, both the varsity and second varsity boats advance directly to Saturday's semifinals, while the varsity 4 must race in a repechage heat Saturday for a chance to reach the final Sunday.

Complete NCAA championships results can be found here.

Cal Results at NCAA Women's Rowing Championships
CSUS Aquatic Center on Lake Natoma (Ranch Cordova, CA)

Varsity 8 Heat 3
1. California 6:26.08; 2. Stanford 6:31.35; 3. Washington 6:33.49; 4. Michigan State 6:36.36; 5. Syracuse 6:46.01

Junior Varsity 8 Heat 2
1. California 6:39.55; 2. Ohio State 6:44.87; Michigan 6:45.85; 4. Harvard 6:48.06; 5. USC 6:52.34; 6. Wisconsin 6:57.78

Varsity 4 Heat 2
1. Washington 7:25.22; 2. California 7:26.98; 3. Wisconsin 7:27.98; 4. USC 7:32.49; 5. Ohio State 7:34.62; 6. Michigan State 7:34.74

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