Host Cal Rows in NCAA Championships Starting Friday on Lake Natoma

May 27, 2008

BERKELEY - Host California will seek its third national title in four years when it competes in the NCAA Division I Women's Rowing Championships May 30-June 1 at the Sacramento State Aquatic Center on Lake Natoma in Gold River, Calif. Cal is familiar with the course, as the Bears are coming off a Pac-10 championship performance on May 18 on Lake Natoma. Head coach Dave O'Neill also led his 2005 Bears to the NCAA championship the last time the national regatta was held on the Sacramento-area lake.

Gold River is located 28 minutes east of Sacramento.

This year's strong NCAA field includes 12 teams - Cal, defending champion Brown, Harvard, Michigan State, Ohio State, Princeton, Tennessee, Virginia, Washington, Washington State, Wisconsin and Yale - and four at-large varsity eight boats from Clemson, Michigan, Stanford and USC.

The top 16 varsity eights in the May 21 USRowing/Collegiate Rowing Coaches Association (CRCA) national poll will row this weekend, including Cal's own No. 1-ranked varsity eight. The Bears claimed the program's fifth Pac-10 varsity eight title and led Cal to its fourth conference team title in five years in their last visit to Lake Natoma.

The rest of the varsity eights competing at NCAAs are No. 2 Brown, No. 3 Yale, No. 4 Virginia, No. 5 Stanford, No. 6 Michigan State, No. 7 Harvard, No. 8 Princeton, No. 9 Washington State, No. 10 Michigan, No. 11 USC, No. 12 Clemson, No. 13 Wisconsin, No. 14 Washington, No. 15 Tennessee and No. 16 Ohio State.

Cal is also the host of the Division II and III NCAA Women's Rowing Championships, which will take place together with the Division I championships starting on May 30 on Lake Natoma. The Division II regatta will run through June 1, while the Division III competition ends on May 31.

The Bears have qualified for the NCAA Women's Rowing Championships each year under O'Neill, who took over head coaching duties at Cal in 1999. The Bears won the national title in 2005 and 2006 and have claimed six top-five finishes overall. Last year, Cal placed seventh at NCAAs in Oak Ridge, Tenn., with its second varsity eight taking second place, its varsity four finishing third and its varsity eight ending up 13th. In its two championship seasons, the Cal varsity four and second varsity eight each finished second twice, and the Bears' varsity eight won the national title in 2005 and placed second in 2006.

Cal received at-large berths for its varsity eight in 1997 and 1998, the first two years the NCAA sponsored the regatta. The Bears also won the National Women's Rowing Association (NWRA) title in 1980.

Live Results/Ticket Information will provide live splits and results from the national regatta, while will provide a live Webcast of the championships. For ticket information to the championships, please call 1-800-GO-BEARS or visit

For more information on the 2008 NCAA Women's Rowing Championships, please visit the event's official Web site at

Cal-Sacramento-Area Connections
These are the Cal athletes' connections to the Sacramento area:- The varsity eight includes two Bears who grew up near the California capital: Senior rower Candice Rediger, who calls Gold River home, and junior rower Elena Humphreys, whose hometown of Carmichael is 22 minutes from Sacramento. Both attended Rio Americano HS and rowed for the Capital Crew club.- Two members of Cal's varsity four grew up close to Sacramento: Sophomore rower Kelsey Bates, a product of Fair Oaks who attended Bella Vista HS, rowed for Capital Crew along with junior rower Melissa Herman, who is from Rocklin and went to Saint Francis HS.- The area produced three of Cal's sophomore coxswains, as Erica Bellis and Katie Luke hail both from Folsom and went to Folsom HS, while Becky Pacheco is a Davis product who attended Davis Senior HS.- Sophomore rower Alexis Campbell-Craven is from Shingle Springs and went to Ponderosa HS.

2008 NCAA Women's Rowing Championships Schedule

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