Cal Earns Bid to NCAA Women's Rowing Championships
May 20, 2008
BERKELEY - California earned its official selection into the 2008 NCAA Women's Rowing Championships when the NCAA announced its Division I field on Tuesday. The Pac-10 champion Golden Bears are the host of the Divisions I, II and III national regattas, which will take place together at the Sacramento State Aquatic Center at Lake Natoma in Gold River, Calif. The Division I and II championships run May 30-June 1 and the Division III regatta takes place May 30-31.
'It says a lot about our program that it's the 10th year in a row that we've gone as a team,' Cal head coach Dave O'Neill said. 'I'm really glad that it was clear that we would be selected and were not a bubble team. I know there are a number of coaches wondering how some selections were made.'
The NCAA Division I Women's Rowing Championships are comprised of 12 teams, and each team is required to field boats in the varsity eight, second varsity eight and varsity four competitions. Four eight-woman boats from institutions not represented in the team competition are also selected.
Three Pac-10 teams - Cal, Washington and Washington State - earned selections. USC, which took fifth at NCAAs last year, and Stanford, which placed second overall in the 2008 Pac-10 Rowing Championships, claimed at-large spots for their varsity eight boats at this year's national regatta.
'The Pac-10 is a tough conference and we had some great racing on Sunday,' O'Neill said, 'and I know all Pac-10 representatives at NCAAs will race well.'
The other nine teams selected to the 2008 field are defending NCAA champion Brown, Harvard, Michigan State, Ohio State, Princeton, Tennessee, Virginia, Wisconsin and Yale. Clemson and Michigan also earned at-large bids for their varsity eights.
Cal, which won the Pac-10 championship on May 18 at Lake Natoma, brings its top-ranked and unbeaten varsity eight into NCAAs. The Bears' varsity eight, second varsity eight and novice eight all won 2008 Pac-10 titles, while the Cal varsity four took second place at the conference regatta.
The Bears have qualified for the NCAA Women's Rowing Championships each year under O'Neill, who took over head coaching duties at Cal in 1999. The Bears won the national title in 2005 and 2006 and have claimed six top-five finishes overall. Last year, Cal placed seventh at NCAAs in Oak Ridge, Tenn., with its second varsity eight taking second place, its varsity four finishing third and its varsity eight ending up 13th. In its two championships seasons, the Cal varsity four and second varsity eight each finished second twice, and the Bears' varsity eight won the national title in 2005 and placed second in 2006.
Cal received at-large berths for its varsity eight in 1997 and 1998, the first two years the NCAA sponsored the regatta. The Bears also won the National Women's Rowing Association (NWRA) title in 1980.
For more information about the 2008 NCAA Women's Rowing Championships, please visit Natoma08.com.
NCAA Division I Women's Rowing Championships Field
At-Large Varsity 8s