Cal Receives Bid to NCAA Rowing Championships

May 15, 2007

BERKELEY - The two-time defending champion California women's rowing team received a bid to the NCAA championships Tuesday and will compete in the national regatta May 25-27 on Melton Hill Lake in Oak Ridge, Tenn.

The Golden Bears, who are currently ranked eighth in the country, most recently placed second at the Pac-10 championships this past Sunday.

'Although I was confident we'd be selected, it was good to get the confirmation,' head coach Dave O'Neill said. 'This selection holds an added significance, and I give this year's team a lot of credit for their hard work and resolve. A month ago, selection to NCAA's was not looking too good, and the team was at a crossroads. We've been heading in the right direction ever since. We are certainly looking forward to NCAA's.'

Under O'Neill's direction, Cal has been invited to the NCAA races during each of his nine years at the helm. In addition to team titles in both 2005 and 2006, the Bears were third in 1999 and 2002. Cal received at-large berths for its Varsity 8 in 1997 and '98 - the first two years the NCAA sponsored the regatta.

The NCAA championships are comprised of 12 teams, and each team is required to field boats in the Varsity 8, Second Varsity 8 and Varsity 4 competitions. Four eight-woman boats from institutions not represented in the team competition are also selected.

In addition to the Bears, the other crews to receive team invitations Tuesday were: Brown, Harvard, Minnesota, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Princeton, Southern California, Tennessee, Virginia, Washington and Yale. Al-large invitations went to Dartmouth, Stanford, Central Florida and UCLA.

Last spring at the NCAA regatta in West Windsor, N.J., Cal finished second in each of the three events that determine the team champion. Cal and Brown tied with 66 points apiece, but Cal was awarded the title based on a higher finish in the Varsity 8 competition.

In 2005, the Bears used a two-second victory in the Varsity 8 to capture the program's first NCAA crown. Cal also won the AIAW national title in 1980.

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