Cal Qualifies All 3 Boats for NCAA Grand Finals on Sunday

May 31, 2008

GOLD RIVER, Calif. - The California varsity four won its repechage in a photo finish and the Golden Bears qualified all three of its boats for grand finals on Saturday morning at the NCAA Women's Rowing Championships on Lake Natoma. Cal is one of three teams, including Brown and Washington, to put boats in all three Division I grand finals. The top-ranked Cal varsity eight, which came into the national regatta unbeaten, took second place in its semifinal to reach Sunday's grand final, while the Bears also finished second in the second varsity eight repechage to qualify for that grand final.

In the first varsity eight semifinal, which opened Saturday's racing, Cal faced third-ranked Yale for the first time this season and lost its first race of the season to the Ivy League power, 6:35.16-6:38.66. Stanford was third in 6:39.93. The top three teams in each semifinal, including No. 2 Brown, No. 14 Washington and No. 6 Michigan State, which finished 1-2-3 in the second semi, qualified for the grand final.

In a bit of an upset, fourth-ranked Virginia, which pushed Cal in Friday's heats, finished fourth behind the Spartans in their semi and did not qualify for the varsity eight grand final.

Cal's varsity four trailed Brown much of the way and got a scare from Ohio State before coming on strong late. In the most exciting race of the morning, the Golden Bears edged the Brown Bears by .15 seconds, 7:32.06-7:32.21. Both teams qualified for the grand final.

The Bears' second varsity eight put together a solid race to finish behind Virginia by 1.04 seconds, 6:47.83-6:48.87. The top two teams in each second varsity eight repechage reached the grand final.

A full recap, with quotes and agate resuts, will follow.

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