No. 2 Cal Women's Crew Travels to NCAA Championships

May 23, 2006

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This Week: The California Golden Bears women's crew has been selected to compete in the 2006 NCAA Division I Women's Rowing Championships. The championships will be held May 26-28 on Mercer Lake in West Windsor, N.J. Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, New Brunswick, and the Princeton National Rowing Association, will serve as hosts. The No. 2 Golden Bears head to West Windsor for the NCAA Championships two weeks after winning a third consecutive Pac-10 title. The reigning varsity and team champions, Cal comes into their final race of the season undefeated on the varsity level.

Competition starts with varsity eight heats at 8 a.m. Friday, and Division I races run from 9:30-11 a.m. Saturday. Sunday's Division I finals begin at 10:30 a.m. and conclude with the varsity eight grand final at 12 noon. For complete schedule and ticket information, visit http://www.princetonregatta.org/ncaa.html.

The Field: The 12 teams selected to appear in the team competition are No. 1 Princeton, No. 2 California, No. 3 Washington State, No. 5 Notre Dame, No. 6 Brown, No. 7 Ohio State, No. 8 Yale, No. 9 Tennessee, No. 10 Wisconsin, No. 11 Washington, No. 15 Stanford and No. 17t Michigan State. These 12 schools will field varsity eight, second varsity eight and varsity four boats. In addition No. 4 USC, No. 12 Minnesota, No. 13 Boston University, and No. 17t UCLA will each field a varsity eight boat. Of the 15 other crew teams in the field of competition, the Cal varsity eight has faced and defeated 10 of them.

2005 NCAA Championship: Cal won its first ever team championship at last year's NCAA championships in Rancho Cordova. The varsity eight finished first in its grand final, moving up five spots from its 2004 standing. The junior varsity eight captured the silver medal for a second consecutive year. In the varsity four grand final, Cal took fourth. The Bears earned 67 points overall, four more than second place Virginia. The first-place finish was Cal's second national championship, the first coming under the AIAW (precursor to the NCAA) in 1980.

Cal at the NCAAs: Since the arrival of head coach Dave O'Neill in 1999, Cal has received a team invitation to the NCAA Championships every year. The Bears success in NCAA competition culminated with last year's team championship, the second NCAA women's team title in school history, following the Cal softball team that won the NCAA crown in 2002. The Bears captured the bronze medal in the varsity eight races in both 1999 and 2002, while the junior varsity eight brought home silver in 2004 and bronze in '03. Until last year the highest Cal had ever finished in the NCAA Championships was third, in 2002.

Pac-10 Recap (May 14, 2006): The Bears won the varsity eight, varsity four and second varsity eight championship, while finishing third behind Gonzaga and Washington in the novice eight finals. The varsity eight race was one of the day's closest. Cal jumped out to an early and the Bears were able to hold onto this lead throughout, finishing one second ahead of Washington State. In the second varsity eight UCLA started ahead of Cal, but the Bears attacked, finishing two seconds ahead of the Bruins. The Cal novice eight fell to a two-second deficit after 500 meters and never caught up, eventually finishing more than seven seconds behind Gonzaga. In the varsity coxed four Cal was in third place after 500 meters, but the Bears turned the tables and ended up finishing the race more than two seconds ahead of Washington State.

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