Six women's rowing teams receive NCAA bids

By the Pac-12 Conference

WALNUT CREEK, Calif. - California, Stanford, UCLA, USC, Washington and Washington State are headed to the 2013 NCAA Division I Women's Rowing Championships. On Tuesday, the NCAA Division I Women's Rowing Committee announced the field of 22 teams that will compete at Eagle Creek Park in Indianapolis from May 31-June 2. The University of Notre Dame and the Indiana Sports Corporation will serve as the hosts.

Eleven Conferences were awarded automatic qualification, and the remaining 11 slots were filled with at-large selections. Each of the 22 teams is required to field two boats of eight rowers and one boat of four rowers. For the varsity eight and varsity four teams, all 22 boats will be seeded into four heats.

USC, the Conference's automatic qualifier, finished second at the Pac-12 Championships but posted the highest point total in varsity races to earn the automatic berth. The Trojans captured the varsity eight by an impressive four-second margin over runner up Washington. USC kicked off the season with a record-setting performance at the San Diego Crew Classic and won three trophies at the regatta for the second time in program history. The Trojans claimed the team title at the Lake Natoma Invitational in April and also posted a sweep of No. 6 UCLA in varsity races in a dual in early May.

California won its sixth straight Pac-12 title (eighth in the last nine years) by notching victories the second varsity eight and the varsity four at Lake Natoma on May 19. After finishing second at the San Diego Crew Classic and the Lake Natoma Invitational, the Golden Bears' varsity eight saw its nine-race win streak against Washington snapped by the then-No. 1 Huskies in Seattle. It bounced back the following week, capping a four-race sweep of No. 10 Stanford in the Big Row. As a team, Cal captured three of four grand finals at the Lake Natoma Invitational but finished second behind top-ranked USC by just one point.

Washington placed third in the team championships last weekend, propelled by a victory in the novice eight. The Huskies have won three of four varsity eight races since finishing fifth at the San Diego Crew Classic in early April, including a dual victory over California. The Huskies captured their first Simpson Cup since 2003 with a two-second victory over the Bears in the varsity eight. Washington closed out the regular season with its seventh straight Windermere Cup victory, finishing twelve seconds ahead of second-place Cornell and 18 seconds ahead of third-place Dartmouth in the varsity eights.

UCLA finished fourth at the Pac-12 Championships with its best result coming in the women's varsity four. The Bruins captured the silver medal in the event. UCLA's varsity four finished second at the San Diego Crew Classic, less than five three seconds behind first-place USC, while its varsity eight finished fourth behind a trio of crews ranked in the top 10 and ahead of No. 7 Washington. The Bruins followed up with a solid performance at the Clemson Invitational, an event that featured seven nationally ranked crews.

Stanford is coming off of a fifth-place finish at the Pac-12 Championships. The Cardinal kicked off the spring campaign with its top three crews earning wins in eight of nine races against No. 17 Clemson, Oklahoma and Northeastern at the Pac-12 Women's Challenge. Stanford tied for third in points at the Lake Natoma Invitational before sweeping all three events (varsity eight, second varsity eight, varsity four) at the Oregon State Classic in April.

Washington State, which placed fifth at the Pac-12 Championships, swept Gonzaga in an early season dual for the second consecutive year and advanced its varsity four crew to the grand finals at the San Diego Crew Classic. The Cougars' varsity four and second varsity four shells topped Washington in its annual Apple Cup dual. Washington State also swept Oregon State on April 27 to retain the Crawford Perpetual Plate and the Winchell Cup and followed it up with a second-place finish at the Oregon State Classic later that afternoon.

The Pac-12 holds six NCAA Championships in rowing. Washington won in 1997, 1998 and 2001. Cal won back-to-back titles in 2005 and 2006, and Stanford claimed the 2009 crown.

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