UW Varsity Four Advances to Grand Final of NCAA Regatta

May 29, 2004

RANCHO CORDOVA, Calif. - Washington's varsity four crew convincingly won its repechage race Saturday to secure a berth in the grand final and the sixth-ranked varsity eight finished fourth in the semifinals and will compete in the petite final at the NCAA Women's Rowing Championships on Lake Natoma.

The three-day NCAA regatta concludes Sunday with the championship races. Washington boats will race in the junior varsity eight and varsity four grand finals and the varsity eight petite final.

The Huskies' Pac-10 champion varsity four was in third place during the opening 500 meters as California and Princeton burst ahead at the start. Washington reeled in Princeton by the 1,000-meter mark and overtook the Golden Bears by the 1,500. The strong surge continued over the final quarter of the race as the Huskies registered an impressive open-water triumph. UW completed the 2,000-meter course in 7-minutes, 35.6-seconds followed by Cal in 7:39.7.Brown won the other repechage in 7:33.0.

'I told the girls before the race that somebody is going to go to the 1,000 to try and get out ahead. We had to stay relaxed and push through them,' said Husky assistant coach Sean Mulligan. 'They are really strong and know that they can row some people down. Our girls stayed really focused and methodically took them down throughout the racecourse.'

Mulligan, a former Husky coxswain, is in his first season on the women's staff after serving as an intern with the men's team. He coached the UW men's varsity four to a national title at the 2003 IRA Championships.

'There are a couple boats that can win the race tomorrow and we are one of them,' Mulligan projected of the grand final field that includes automatic qualifiers Ohio State and Virginia along with Brown, California and Yale.

The Huskies' four only began training together earlier this month. They won three of their four races. The only race they didn't win was in Friday's heat as they were runners-up to Ohio State.

'We've only been in this boat such a short time,' said senior Signe Johannes (Hoquiam HS). 'We've had some good races and we obviously want to have our best tomorrow. If we keep on in this vein we will have the performance that we want.'

The grand final appearance is the first since Washington's varsity four won back-to-back championships in 2000 and 2001. The Huskies won the varsity four petite final at last year's NCAA regatta.

Washington's top crew staged a furious comeback, but narrowly missed qualifying for the varsity eight grand final. Three of the nation's top-four ranked teams joined No. 6 UW in the same semifinal with only the top three advancing to the championship race. Brown clocked a winning time of 6:33.0 followed by top-ranked California in 6:36.4 and No. 2 Princeton in 6:36.41. UW finished one seat behind the second and third-place boats with a time of 6:37.1. Defending champion and No. 4 ranked Harvard was a distant fifth in 6:41.8.

'We raced our best, gave everything we had and came up short. I'm not disappointed in the boat, it's just this feeling of disappointment that it wasn't enough to get us to where we wanted to be,' said senior Yvonneke Stenken, one of only two rowers returning from last season's fourth-place varsity eight crew. 'We really wanted it and we were giving everything we had. When we started our sprint we really started to move.'

The Huskies were rowing fourth, trailing leader Princeton by a boat length and third-place California by six seats at the midway point. A sensational sprint drew UW closer to Princeton and Cal while Brown surged into the lead for good. At the finish, the Huskies were just one seat away from qualifying for the grand final.

'It's one of those cases where, if somebody gets too much on you in the middle of the race, you can sprint, but you can't get them. They came up a couple feet short,' said Husky head coach Eleanor McElvaine. 'It hurts, but I told them I'm really proud of how hard they fought. It was an awesome performance and our hats are off to the other teams that were faster this year.'

Washington's varsity eight competes in the petite final in a field that includes Harvard, No. 5 Virginia, No. 10 Tennessee, No. 12 USC and No. 16 Notre Dame.

The Huskies chances of medaling in the team standings are remote as the finish in the varsity eight competition is the primary factor in the formula that awards points based on each team's combined results in the three events. Brown, California and Yale have the inside track on the medals as they are the only three schools to qualify a crew in all three grand finals.

The Huskies' junior varsity eight crew had Saturday off after winning Friday's heat to automatically qualify for the grand final. Washington is joined by the second varsity boats from Brown, the other automatic qualifier, along with California, Michigan, Washington State and Yale.

Saturday, May 29, 2004
Lake Natoma; Rancho Cordova, Calif.

Varsity Eights
(top three finishers in each race to grand final, rest to petite final)
Semifinal I -- 1, Yale 6:36.6. 2, Michigan 6:37.8. 3, Ohio State 6:38.9. 4, Virginia 6:40.1. 5, Notre Dame 6:51.3. 6, USC 6:51.31

Semifinal II -- 1, Brown 6:33.0. 2, California 6:36.4. 3, Princeton 6:36.41. 4, Washington 6:37.1. 5, Harvard 6:41.8. 6, Tennessee 6:48.5.

     UW lineup: cox-Megan Mach, stroke-Sanda Hangan,7-Kara Farquharson, 6-Yvonneke Stenken, 5-Allison DePalma,4-Mary Reeves, 3-Sarah Hubbard, 2-Gemma Edward-Aron,bow-Michael Kohan.

Varsity Fours
(top two finishers in each race to grand final, rest to petite final)
Repechage I
-- 1, Brown 7:33.0. 2, Yale 7:34.0. 3, Michigan State 7:36.2. 4, Wisconsin 7:36.8. 5, Washington State 7:47.5.

Repechage II -- 1, Washington 7:35.6. 2, California 7:39.7. 3, Michigan 7:43.3. 4, Princeton 7:44.5. 5, Harvard 7:49.4.

     UW lineup: cox-Eva Anderson, stroke-Alina Tabacaru,3-Signe Johannes, 2-Katherine Ramos, bow-Analena Shepherd.

(team listed by lane assignment, Nos. 1-6)

Varsity Fours
10:30 a.m. PDT -- Petite Final Washington Sate, Michigan, Princeton, Michigan State, Wisconsin, Harvard.

10:45 a.m. PDT -- Grand Final
Yale, Washington, Virginia, Ohio State, Brown, California.

Junior Varsity Eights
11:00 a.m. PDT -- Petite Final

Wisconsin, Michigan State, Virginia, Princeton, Harvard, Ohio State.

11:15 a.m. PDT -- Grand Final
Michigan, Washington State, Washington, Brown, California, Yale.

Varsity Eights
11:45 a.m. PDT -- Petite Final

USC, Notre Dame, Virginia, Washington, Harvard, Tennessee.

12:00 p.m. PDT -- Grand Final
Ohio State, Michigan, Brown, Yale, California, Princeton.

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