Six Pac-12 women's rowing teams selected for NCAA championships

Bob Solorio
WALNUT CREEK, Calif. -  CALIFORNIA, STANFORD, UCLA, USC, WASHINGTON and WASHINGTON STATE are headed to the 2014 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 30-June 1. 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.
Stanford, the Conference’s automatic qualifier, are fresh off its’ first-ever Pac-12 title after taking three of four races, including the varsity eight race, at the 2014 Championships on May 18. The title win ended a streak of six-consecutive Conference championships for California. The Cardinal is having one of the best years in program history, highlighted by a win in the annual “Big Row” against the Bears--its first since 2009 and only the third time since 1997. Stanford also turned in finishes ahead of No. 9 Notre Dame and No. 20 San Diego at the Lake Natoma Invitational in early April.
Washington placed second in the team championships last weekend, propelled by a victory in the novice eight and a second-place come-from-behind finish in the varsity eight. The Huskies won two of three varsity eight races since finishing second at the San Diego Crew Classic in early April, including a sweep of cross-state rival Washington State. The Huskies kept the Apple Cup trophy in Seattle for the fourth-straight year with a victory in the varsity eight dual race. Washington closed out the regular season with its eighth straight Windermere Cup victory, finishing just under five seconds ahead of the visiting Great Britain Women’s National Team.
California’s streak of six straight Pac-12 titles came to an end last weekend while the third-place position overall marked the Bears’ lowest finish since they finished in the same spot in 1997. The Bears began the season as the top-ranked team, and opened the season with a win by the second varsity eight at the San Diego Crew Classic, then followed with a first-place overall finish at the Lake Natoma Invitational. The Golden Bears’ varsity eight avenged a loss to Washington in Seattle a year ago by capturing the Simpson Cup at home in their annual dual rivalry meeting. The lone regular season loss came by way of the Cardinal.
UCLA finished fourth at the Pac-12 Championships for the second-consecutive year, highlighted by two silver medal finishes in the novice eight and second varsity eight races. Early in the season, the Bruins’ varsity four and novice eight both recorded third-place finishes at the San Diego Crew Classic, as the varsity four finished ahead of Washington, San Diego and Iowa and the novice eight was just 0.18 seconds behind second-place California. They followed up with a solid performance at the Clemson Invitational, an event that featured four nationally ranked crews. 
USC is coming off of a fifth-place finish at the Pac-12 Championships. After a challenging dual against then-No. 3 Virginia to start the season, the varsity eight claimed its fourth-straight Jessop-Whittier Cup at the annual San Diego Crew Classic, while the second varsity eight won the Jackie Ann Stitt Hungness Trophy for the second-consecutive year and the third time ever. The varsity four also repeated as winners at the classic, capturing the Karen Plumleigh Cortney Cup with a just under six-second win over California. 
Washington State, which placed fifth at the Pac-12 Championships, will make its eighth overall team appearance, it’s second-consecutive and its fourth in five years. The Cougars took four of six races from Gonzaga in an early season dual and advanced its varsity four crew to the grand finals at the San Diego Crew Classic for the second-straight year. After picking up three wins at the Clemson Invitational in mid-April, the Cougars beat Oregon State in all but one race on May 3, with the Beavers and Cougars top boats tying in the varsity eight race to each earn their share of the Crawford Perpetual Plate. On the day, the Cougars captured the Winchell Cup for the fifth-consecutive year.
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.
2014 NCAA Rowing Championship Automatic Qualifying Teams
Boston University, Patriot League
Jacksonville, Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference
Louisville, American Athletic Conference
Massachusetts, Atlantic 10
Northeastern, Colonial Athletic Association
Ohio State, Big Ten Conference
Oklahoma, Conference USA
Princeton, The Ivy League
San Diego, West Coast Conference
Virginia, Atlantic Coast Conference
2014 NCAA Rowing Championship At-Large Selections
Notre Dame
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