Varsity Eight Boat Highlights Day One at NCAA Championships

May 30, 2008

GOLD RIVER, Calif. - Washington State University's varsity eight boat advanced to the semifinals to highlight opening day action at the 2008 NCAA Women's Rowing Championships, Friday at the Sacramento State Aquatic Center.

In addition to the varsity eight, the second varsity eight and varsity four boats each competed and moved into Saturday's repechage races.

'I am pleased with out performance,' said WSU Head Coach Jane LaRiviere. 'It is exciting to see us compete against the best teams in the nation and a real tribute to the level of racing. The best of the best are here and if you're not ready to bring it you are going to miss out on things by a half or even tenth of a second.'

The Cougars varsity eight boat, comprised of coxswain Kelly O'Brien, stroke Irena Neffeova, Karin Brevick, Kyann Martin, Sarah Powell, Monica Teague, Hannah Rothstrom, Tiana Rodriquez and Erica Lewis, opened the day by finishing fourth in Heat 3 in a time of 6 minutes, 28.98 seconds, narrowly missing out on third place. California, the top-ranked varsity eight boat in the nation, won the heat in a time of 6:23.79, followed by Virginia (6:24.95) and Princeton (6:28.28). Tennessee rounded out the heat in fifth place with a time of 6:30.98.

WSU trailed after the opening 500 meters before moving past Tennessee after 1,000 meters. The Cougars closed the margin against Princeton by the third split to less half a second but drew no closer over the final 500 meters as the Tigers held on to third.

By placing fourth in the heat, WSU moved into Friday afternoon's repechage race, where it battled a stronger head wind than the morning race to finish second behind USC in a time of 6:41.68. USC, WSU and Michigan, which finished third, all advance to Saturday's semifinals. At the halfway point of the afternoon race, the Cougars trailed USC and Michigan but was the fastest boat over the final 1,000 meters to cut the Trojans' final margin of victory to less than a second and secure a berth in the first semifinal.

'It was a very good race (in the afternoon),' LaRiviere said. 'They had the power and relaxation they have been searching for the past month and everyone felt it was a good step up from the morning.'

In the second varsity eight heat, WSU finished in fourth with a time of 6:52.38, trailing Brown (6:44.46), Washington (6:47.18) and Virginia (6:49.22). Wisconsin (6:52.95) and Princeton (7:08.53) rounded out the top six. By winning the heat Brown moves into Sunday's Grand Final while the Cougars move into Saturday's repechage race.

Trailing Wisconsin after 1,500 meters, the Cougars used a strong final 500 meters to move past the Badgers for fourth place in the heat. WSU's final split time of 1:40.73 was the second fastest of the six boats was enough to erase an almost three-second deficit and move the Cougars into the top four. WSU's final time of 6:52.38 was the sixth-fastest of the 12 boats competing in the two varsity eight heats.

The second varsity eight boat includes coxswain Corina Chilibeck, Amy Brevick, Erika Jorgensen, Phillippa Summerville, Christina Kinck, Justine Galbraith, Lauren Johnson, Carly Farris and Natasha Ostopovich.

In WSU's varsity four race, the Cougars displayed a strong final kick to hold off Tennessee and secure fifth place in the heat with a time of 7:46.87. Virginia won the heat in a time of 7:27.07, followed by Michigan State (7:31.83), Brown (7:34.28) and Ohio State (7:42.17).

The varsity four boat, consisting of coxswain Tara McTavish, stroke Jamie Deyette, Michelle Mindemann, Katie Wollstein and Patricia Schlachter, moved past Tennessee around the 1,000-meter mark then used a 1:57.60 split over the final 500 meters, the third-fastest of the heat, to solidify its position.

'Everyone is excited, having fun, and ready to take on what will be thrown at us (Saturday),' said LaRiviere.

Racing continues Saturday at the Sacramento State Aquatic Center with the varsity eight boat competing in the first semifinal at 8 a.m. The second varsity eight will race at 8:30 a.m. while the varsity four boats competes at 9 a.m. Live results can be found at

Sacramento State Aquatic Center
Lake Natoma
Gold River, Calif.
May 30 - June 1

Heat 3
1. California, 6:23.79
2. Virginal, 6:24.95
3. Princeton, 6:28.28
5. Tennessee, 6:30.69

Repechage Race
1. USC, 6:40.77
3. Michigan, 6:42.01
4. Wisconsin, 6:43.22
5. Clemson, 6:47.28
6. Ohio State, 6:48.22
7. Tennessee, 6:50.92

Heat 2
1. Brown, 6:44.46
2. Washington, 6:47.18
3. Virginia, 6:49.22
5. Wisconsin, 6:52.95
6. Princeton, 7:08.53

Heat 1
1. Virginia, 7:27.07
2. Michigan State, 7:31.83
3. Brown, 7:34.28
4. Ohio State, 7:42.17
6. Tennessee, 7:52.68