May 31, 2008
GOLD RIVER, Calif. - Yale had two boats earn a spot in grand finals on the second day of the NCAA Team Rowing Championships on Lake Natoma. The varsity eight, the defending NCAA champion, knocked off No. 1 ranked and undefeated California en route to winning its semifinal heat with a time of 6:35.16, and the varsity four qualified with a second-place finish in the repechage in a time of 7:38.04. The Bulldogs' second varsity eight placed fourth in its repechage and will race in the petite final.
"Overall it was a good day," said Yale head coach Will Porter. "We've put ourselves in good position."
Brown, the defending team champion, Washington and California each have all three of their boats in grand finals, while Yale, Virginia and Michigan State qualified two boats.
Yale's varsity eight led from wire-to-wire, finishing more than three seconds ahead of second-place California. Stanford edged Radcliffe for third place to earn the final spot in the grand final.
"We came in knowing it would be a very tough race," said Tess Gerrand, who sits in the No. 6 seat. "We performed well, but it was hard, and tomorrow is going to be just as hard."
"Our varsity is showing their true speed," Porter said. "They are young, but are getting better with every piece."
Yale will race California, Stanford, Brown, Washington and Michigan State in Sunday's grand final, which is scheduled to go off at 11:30 a.m. PST.
"It should be anybody's race," Porter said. "I expect it to be very close. There is no room for error."
Yale's varsity four of coxswain Sarah Brownlee, Suzanne Salgado, Karrin Weisenthal, Allix Wilde and Alexandra Thompson led after 500 meters but was overtaken by Michigan State near the halfway point. The Bulldogs finished nearly five seconds behind the Spartans but comfortably ahead of third-place Washington State.
"The four is doing a very good job," Porter said. "Making the grand final is a tremendous accomplishment."
Yale races Michigan State, Virginia, Washington, California and Brown in the grand final on Sunday at 10:15 a.m. PST.
After a disappointing heat on Friday, Yale's second varsity performed much better in its repechage, finishing with a time of 6:56.01. The Bulldogs had a slim lead on Virginia after 500 meters, but fell to third after 1,000 meters and was fourth at the 1,500-meter mark. Virginia won with a time of 6:47.83. California (6:48.87) was second followed by Washington State (6:52.89). Radcliffe (6:57.72) was fifth.
"I'm very proud of the second varsity," Porter said. "They showed a lot of courage. The challenge for them is to finish high in the petite final and get us as many points as they can."
Yale races in the petite final on Sunday at 10:30 a.m. Video of all of Sunday's races will be available at the Official Web Site of the competition.
NCAA Team Championships
Day Two Results
Washington State 6:54.08
Michigan State 6:36.64
Southern California 6:46.00
Second Varsity Eight
Washington State 6:52.87
Michigan State 7:02.08
Michigan State 7:33.74
Washington State 7:41.43
Ohio State 7:38.58
Report filed by Tim Bennett, Yale Sports Publicity