Women's Rowing Claims Fourth At NCAA Championships
May 30, 2010
GOLD RIVER, Calif. - Stanford women's rowing was in the hunt to successfully defend its NCAA team title at Sunday's final day of the 2010 NCAA Championships, but things just didn't quite go the Cardinal's way as it took home a national fourth-place finish. The II Eight highlighted the day's efforts as it claimed the NCAA silver medal in its Grand Final at Lake Natoma.
The Four opened the day by taking second in its petite final, ending up eighth overall in its field. The I Eight, looking for a second straight gold medal, would finish fifth in its Grand Final, the final race of the day.
'A lot of teams come into the Championships with the dream of winning a national title, and we were fortunate enough to do that last year, and certainly that was our goal coming into today,' said Stanford head coach Yasmin Farooq. 'It takes all three boats to earn your way onto the medal podium and I am proud of the efforts of everyone on this team, and grateful for the very genuine love and support that we get from the parents, alumni and Stanford University.'
Overall, Stanford would accumulate 75 points to claim fourth place in the final team standings, just missing out on the top three by a point behind third-place Princeton (76). Virginia, which claimed the gold in the Fours and silver in the I Eight fields, would claim the NCAA team title with 87 points while California took second with 82 points.
The Cardinal Four, which rowed in its fourth race of the weekend after having to go through the repechage on Friday, led its petite final after the opening 500 meters. Princeton, though, would surge ahead of the Cardinal by less than a second by the halfway mark, and steadily build the lead the rest of the way before crossing the line just over a boatlength ahead of the Cardinal in a time of 7:19.52, about 3.47 seconds ahead of Stanford's 7:22.99.
'The four really improved from race to race this weekend,' Farooq said. 'The experience for the four freshmen in the boat was invaluable and they should be extremely proud of what they accomplished.'
Next up was the II Eight, which was eager to add a first-ever NCAA gold medal to its first-ever Pac-10 gold medal won two weeks ago on the same body of water. The race would end up turning into a two-boat contest, as the Cardinal and the Brown Bears went 1-2 over the entire 2,000 meters.
After being separated by less than a second after the first 500 meters, the Bears would open up its lead on the Cardinal to over four and a half seconds by the 1,500-meter mark. Stanford would then hold off a charging California boat over the last 500 meters, crossing the line in a silver medal-winning time of 6:30.45, 4.73 seconds behind Brown. The finish would still mark the highest-ever for the II Eight, after it earned the NCAA bronze last year.
'The 2V rowed an excellent race and their second-place finish is the highest ever for Stanford,' Farooq noted. 'It was a super way for the seniors in that boat to finish their careers. The blistering pace set by Brown was an amazing performance and they earned the win.'
In the day's main event, the I Eights lined up to decide the NCAA team title. Stanford would open up the race in fifth place after the opening 500 meters, just under four seconds off the pace set by the leader, Yale. The order of boats would only change slightly the rest of the way, as Virginia jumped Princeton for second place, and Yale would lead all the way to the end to take the I Eight title. Stanford trailed behind fourth-place California throughout the race, and crossed the line with a time of 6:31.30, 6.54 seconds behind Yale.
'The final was the deepest 'top six' field I have seen, and I believe everyone knew it would be a barnburner,' Farooq observed. 'Yale set a really fast pace out of the blocks and showed they could deliver for 2,000 meters. We knew we would need to improve the first half of our race to be in the hunt, but the eventual medalists got a big enough lead there that we were unable to get back in the race. It was tough, but I do believe that this performance may provide a great lesson for all of us for the future.'
Stanford adds its fourth-place national finish to a second-place Pac-10 effort to end its 2009-10 season.