Rowing Heads to the NCAA Championship for the 14th Time
INDIANAPOLIS – The No. 19-ranked Washington State rowing team earned an at-large bid into the 2021 NCAA Division I Rowing Championship, as announced by the NCAA Tuesday, May 18. The 2021 NCAA Division I Rowing Championship will be held May 28-30 at Nathan Benderson Park in Sarasota, Florida.
Washington State will be rowing in its 14th NCAA championship regatta, and its first since the 2018 season. After cancelling the 2020 NCAA Division I Rowing Championship due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, the championships will return on May 28-30 at Nathan Benderson Park in Sarasota, Florida with University of Central Florida and Suncoast Aquatic Nature Center Associates, serving as hosts.
With this at-large bid, WSU has now qualified for the NCAA Rowing Championship in nine of the last 11 championship regattas. All 13 NCAA Championship team appearances for the WSU rowing program have come under current head coach Jane LaRiviere. The varsity eight boat qualifed for the 2002 NCAA Championship, which was the season prior to LaRiviere's arrival to the Palouse. WSU's best finish at the NCAA Rowing Championship came back during the 2006 season, when the Cougs finished fourth as a team, led by fourth place finishes from both the first varsity eight and the varsity four boats.
The Cougars head to the 2021 NCAA Rowing Championship fresh-off a fifth-place finish at the 2021 Pac-12 Rowing Championship at Lake Natoma in Gold River, California. WSU's varsity four boat finished third at the Pac-12 Rowing Championship, while the first varsity eight and second varsity eight boats came in fifth in their respective races.
"It was a bit touch-and-go there, but the team had a great Pac-12's. There are no guarantees (for the NCAA Championship) until you hear your name," said LaRiviere. "To know that the effort of the entire team has paid off is a great feeling. This team really deserves to go. They have been the model for following COVID protocols. They've been sticking together and working together this season. I'm really happy for the team. They earned it."
Washington State will be seeded 12th in the varsity four and will row in Heat 4 against No. 20-seed Navy, No. 4-seed Virginia, No. 5-seed Washington, No. 13-seed Alabama and No. 21-seed Northeastern. The WSU first varsity eight boat will be seeded 13th and race in Heat 4 against No. 20-seed Northeastern, No. 12-seed Duke, No. 4-seed Virginia, No. 5-seed Michigan, and 21st-seed Rhode Island. The Cougar's second varsity eight boat will be seeded 15th and compete against No. 18-seed Navy, No. 10-seed California, No. 2-seed Texas and No. 7-seed Rutgers in Heat 2.
This year's championship field is made up of 10 automatic qualifiers as well as 12 at large selections. Four teams out of the Pac-12 Conference earned a spot in the 2021 NCAA Rowing Championship, as No. 1 Washington, No. 4 Stanford and No. 7 California join Washington State in representing the Conference of Champions at Benderson Park in Sarasota, Florida.
Qualifying teams are required to field two boats of eight rowers and one boat of four rowers. Points are assigned for places in each of those three races (66 for first place in the varsity eight, 44 for first place in second varsity eight and 22 for first place in varsity four) and the overall points champion wins the NCAA crown.
For more information on the WSU rowing team, and for all the latest updates on the Cougar's trip to the 2021 NCAA Rowing Championship, follow @WSUCougarRowing on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.