May 30, 2008
GOLD RIVER, Calif. - The Yale varsity eight began defense of its NCAA title in impressive fashion. The Bulldogs easily earned a berth in Saturday's semifinals by winning its heat with a time of 6:25.60 on the first day of the NCAA Team Championships on Lake Natoma. Yale's varsity four finished third in its heat with a time of 7:43.73, while the second varsity eight placed sixth in 6:58.38.
Yale and Michigan State were virtually tied after the first 500 meters of the varsity eight race. The Bulldogs edged out in front by the 1,000-meter mark and led the rest of way, finishing nearly two seconds ahead of second-place Michigan State, who came in with a time of 6:27.25. Radcliffe was third in 6:27.56 followed by Wisconsin (6:29.87), USC (6:33.40) and Ohio State (6:36.01).
"The varsity rowed a solid race. It was a good first step," said Yale head coach Will Porter. "There is more parity than in the past, especially in the varsity boats. Every second matters."
In the second varsity heat, the Bulldogs were third after 500 meters but slipped to sixth by the halfway mark. Ohio State earned a berth in Sunday's grand final by winning the heat with a time of 6:44.87. In the boat for Yale are coxswain Berkley Adrio, Katherine Adams, Cara Dermody, Jennie Hansen, Catherine Hart, Stephanie Madner, Emily Matykiewicz, Lee Glandorf and Rebecca Nadal.
"I don't think that race was indicative of what our second varsity is capable of. They can do better," Porter said. "The good news is they have a second chance tomorrow to earn a berth in the grand final."
Yale's varsity four of coxswain Sarah Brownlee, Suzanne Salgado, Karrin Weisenthal, Allix Wilde and Alexandra Thompson was second at the midpoint of its race but was overtaken by California by the 1,500-meter mark. Washington cruised to the automatic berth in the grand final with a time of 7:31.66, nearly five seconds ahead of second-place Cal.
"The four is on pace and doing a nice job," Porter said. "I expect them to continue to race well tomorrow."
Racing begins at 8 a.m. on Saturday. Yale's varsity eight needs a top-three finish to reach the grand final, while the second varsity and varsity four must finish first or second in the repechage to qualify for the grand final. Video of the races will be available at the Official Web Site of the competition.
NCAA Team Championships
Day One Heats
Michigan State 6:27.25
Southern California 6:33.40
Ohio State 6:36.01
Washington State 6:28.98
Southern California 6:40.77
Washington State 6:41.68
Ohio State 6:48.22
Second Varsity Eight
Ohio State 6:44.87
Michigan State 6:53.38
Washington State 6:52.38
Michigan State 7:31.83
Ohio State 7:42.17
Washington State 7:46.87
Report filed by Tim Bennett, Yale Sports Publicity