JV Eight Advances To IRA Grand Final

Oregon State's junior varsity eight finished second in its semifinal at the Intercollegiate Rowing Association National Championships on Friday, advancing to Saturday's Grand Final, which determines the top six finishers.

OSU's varsity and novice eights finished fifth in their semifinals, and will race in the Petite Finals on Saturday to determine places 7-12. Only the top three finishers in the semifinals advance to the Grand Finals.

Out of 24 programs in the field, No. 8 OSU was one of only six to advance its varsity, junior varsity, and novice boats to the semifinals. Washington, California, Wisconsin, Harvard and Cornell were the others.

'All year, our goal was to give each boat a chance to advance to the Grand Finals, and we did that by getting all three boats into the semifinals,' OSU coach Kjell Oswald said. 'I think the fact that the JV advanced to the Grand Finals shows the depth of the program.

'I couldn't be more proud of the team; there were only six schools that had all three boats in their semifinals, and I think that's the best thing we did. It speaks to the program more than anything else.'

The JV boat, which was in fifth place at the halfway point of the 2,000-meter Cooper River course, surged over the last half to overtake Cal-Davis (which rowed a varsity boat in the JV race), Stanford, and Washington and finish in five minutes, 50.96 seconds. The Beavers edged UW by 0.12 seconds.

OSU nearly caught California, which won in 5:48.21.

'The JV boat was very aggressive off the line and came off clean,' OSU coach Kjell Oswald said. 'They were fifth at the 1,000-meter mark, then rowed through Cal-Davis and past Stanford into third. They kept charging and made it through Washington.

'I think the JV has a legitimate shot at medaling tomorrow. In my opinion, they've just been outracing everybody; the competition is always bigger and stronger.'

The varsity eight was within striking distance through the first 1,000 meters, but was unable to match the speed of the leaders down the stretch, as OSU finished fifth in 5:48.26. Washington's time of 5:39.71 earned it the win.

'I think the varsity eight rowed a great race,' Oswald said. 'At this point, it was really anybody's race, and I think they rowed one of their best races of the year. They were in the hunt up to the 1,000-meter mark, and then I think yesterday's repechage caught up to them and they ran out of steam. They had to spend too much energy yesterday.

'I'm proud of them, they rowed as hard as they could the whole way down the course. Even when they knew they weren't going to advance, they kept rowing and put in a good race.'

The novice eight finished fifth as well, rowing to a time of 5:48.54. Less than seven seconds separated OSU from first-place California, who finished in 5:41.95, and OSU topped sixth-place Purdue by nearly 20 seconds.

'The novice eight was almost a carbon copy of the varsity eight. It was one of the best races they've rowed this year, but they just ran out of juice.'

Originally scheduled for Saturday afternoon, the finals will be raced Saturday morning, due to potential bad weather Saturday afternoon.


Varsity eight - Semifinal 2: 1. Washington 5:39.71; 2. Northeastern 5:42.52; 3. Cornell 5:42.73; 4. Navy 5:43.19; 5. Oregon St. 5:48.26.

Junior varsity eight - Semifinal 2: 1. California 5:48.21; 2. Oregon St. 5:50.96; 3. Washington 5:51.08; 4. Stanford 5:54.64; 5. Cal Davis 5:57.29; 6. Yale 5:59.71.

Novice eight - Semifinal 1: 1. California 5:41.95; 2. Wisconsin 5:44.43; 3. Harvard 'A' 5:45.37; 4. Cornell 5:45.78; 5. Oregon St 5:48.54; 6. Purdue 6:08.18.

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