Racing Starts Friday On Lake Natoma
NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The Yale women's crew is in a familiar place for this weekend's NCAA Championship. The Bulldogs are back in Gold River, Calif., for the second straight year and eighth time overall to compete with 21 other teams for a national title. Racing gets under way with the heats on Friday. The semifinals are Saturday and the finals on Sunday.
"I'm happy to be taking this team to [California]. It is one of my favorite courses," said Will Porter, the Friends of YWC Head Coach of the Bulldogs.
Porter certainly has a lot of fond memories from his time on Lake Natoma. He guided the Bulldogs to their best NCAA finish (2nd) ever there in 2004 and saw his varsity eight win national championships there in 2008 and 2010.
It also is a familiar spot for most members of the crews, who raced there last year when Yale finished ninth, the 12th top-10 finish for the Bulldogs.
"It's great to be back in California this year because a lot of us got a good sense of this course off of racing last year," said senior Abbie Young, who will sit in the No. 2 seat of the varsity eight. "Every year it becomes more clear how important it is to race hard right out of the heats."
Regardless of the venue, though, Yale's mentality is the same.
"The most important thing we learned last year at NCAAs was that worrying about the result, or about others teams, is not helpful during racing," said captain Colleen Maher, who sits in the bow seat of the varsity eight. "We are trying to keep our focus on our own boats and how fast we can make them go."
The varsity eight will be the first to compete, facing Stanford, Michigan, Gonzaga and Northeastern in the second of four heats at 9:12 a.m. PDT.
The second varsity eight races California, Texas, Gonzaga and Northeastern at 10 a.m.
The Bulldogs are seeded 10th in both the varsity eight and second varsity eight.
Yale's varsity four, which won the Ivy League championship two weekends ago, is the second seed behind only California. The Bulldogs will go against Ivy rival Brown, Texas, Washington State and Northeastern in the 10:48 a.m. heat.
In all three heats, the top two finishers advance to Saturday's semifinals, while the rest will be forced to race again later Friday in the repechage, a second chance to advance to the semis.
The Bulldogs, ranked 10th in the latest CRCA/US Rowing national poll, haven't raced since finishing third in the team point standings at the Ivy League Championship on May 15.
"Since Ivy's, we've really been focused on process and simplicity," Maher said. "The atmosphere at NCAAs is really exciting and energetic so staying focused on the process and doing what we do every day in practice will help keep us calm and at our best."
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Stroke - Meg Galloway (So., Ridgefield, Conn.)
7 - Schuyler Ritchie (Jr., London, England)
6 - Marybeth Swords (So., Sudbury, Mass.)
5 - Julia Sesler (So., Bronxville, N.Y.)
4 - Arwen Neski (Fr., Ashley Falls, Mass.)
3 - Alison Nordell (Fr., Gates Mills, Ohio)
2 - Abbie Young (Sr., Barnstable, Mass.)
Bow - Colleen Maher (Sr., Oakton, Va.)
Coxswain: Jessica Michaels (So., Bangkok, Thailand)
Stroke - Mieke Scherpbier (Sr. Upper Dublin, Pa.)
7 - Casey Wizner (Jr., Grosse Pointe, Mich.)
6 - Martha Cosgrove (Sr., Winchester, Mass.)
5 - Kate O'Brien (Jr., Clare, Ireland)
4 - Lily Lindsay (So., Harrison, N.Y.)
3 - Amy Warner (So., East London, South Africa)
2 - Sophie Deans (So., Sydney, Australia)
Bow - Lydia Keating (Jr., Brookline, Mass.)
Coxswain: Anisa Iqbal (Fr., Philadelphia, Pa. )
Stroke - Kendall Chapin (Sr., Radnor, Pa.) Chay
3 - Mary Farner (Sr., Kalamazoo, Mich.)
2 - Olivia Maclean (Jr., Harvard, Mass.)
Bow - Kate Horvat (So., Philadelphia, Pa.)
Coxswain: Sara Lee (Jr., Charlotte, N.C.)
Report filed by Tim Bennett (firstname.lastname@example.org), Yale Sports Publicity