May 31, 2009

Second Varsity Eight Wins NCAA Title; Bulldogs Finish Third At NCAA Championships

May 31, 2009

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    CHERRY HILL, N.J. - All season long, the strength of the Yale women's crew has been depth. It was on display again on the final day of the NCAA Championship. All three boats finished in the top four in the grand finals to earn the Bulldogs an impressive third-place finish. Yale and California each had 85 points, but the Bears were awarded second place by virtue of a higher varsity eight finish. Stanford won its first NCAA team title with 88 points.

    "This has been one of the best teams I've coached," said head coach Will Porter, who is in his 10th year at Yale. "We've focused all year as a team on the NCAAs, and we performed at a very high level. Every boat laid everything on the line."

    Yale's second varsity eight won the grand final, edging California by less than a second. The Bulldogs' varsity four earned a bronze medal, finishing behind only Clemson and Wisconsin. Yale's varsity eight, which had won the grand final in each of the last two years, placed fourth.

    The second varsity eight of coxswain Mia Kanak, Emily Matykiewicz, Allix Wilde, Dara Dickson, Armine Afeyan, Alexandra Thompson, Lauren Richards, Rebecca Nadal and Lee Glandorf earned Yale's third individual NCAA boat title.

    "I'm amazed at what they accomplished," Porter said. "It's a classic example of the sum being greater than the parts. I thought today they raced with freedom."

    The Bulldogs were fifth after 500 meters but moved into third by the halfway mark and had the lead at the 1500-meter mark. Yale finished in 6:29.04, just ahead of Cal, which crossed the line in 6:29.58.

    ""It was one of the tightest races we've had," said, Matykiewicz who sat in the No. 8 seat. "We just tried to focus on [coxswain] Mia's [Kanak's] voice. That allowed us to move as a unit."

    "Everybody trusted each other," said Nadal, who was in the No. 2 seat.

    Yale had gone undefeated during the dual race season but was second to Brown two weeks ago at the Eastern Sprints.

    "We learned a lot at Sprints and tried to apply it here, especially about keeping our composure," Matykiewicz said. "Before each race we would tell a joke and that would help us relax."

    The varsity four of coxswain Sarah Brownlee, Mary Pat Wixted, Elizabeth McDermott, Stephanie Madner and Karrin Weisenthal was fourth at the midway point but used a strong push over the final 1000 meters to finish third with a time of 7:30.81. Clemson won in 7:26.78, and Wisconsin (7:28.54) was second.

    "The four rowed a very savvy race," Porter said. "They fought their way back to earn a medal."

    After the second varsity's victory, Yale was ahead in the team point total, but Stanford's win in the varsity eight clinched the title for the Cardinal. Stanford, which features two Olympians in its boat, led from wire-to-wire but had to hold off a late charge from Virginia. The Cardinal finished in 6:11.95, less than a second faster than UVA (6:12.32). California was third (6:14.76) followed by Yale (6:17.22).

    In the varsity boat for the Bulldogs were coxswain Berkley Adrio, Taylor Ritzel, Cara Dermody, Tess Gerrand, Maren McCrea, Caroline Nash, Christina Person, Alice Henly and Christine Glandorf.

    "This was a very fast field," Porter said. "I am very proud of the way [the varsity eight] competed."

    Yale was the highest finishing Ivy League school in the team point standings. The third-place finish is the second best in school history behind only the 2004 team which was second. Yale has now finished in the top four in each of the last three years.

    The season is still not quite over for the Bulldogs, who will be heading to England in June for the Royal Henley Regatta.

    2009 NCAA Championship Results

    Final Team Standings
    1.Stanford 88
    2.California 85
    3. Yale 85
    4. Virginia 78
    5.Brown 71
    6.Michigan State 54
    7. Washington 50
    8. Ohio State 49
    9. Michigan 48
    10. Princeton 46
    11. USC 46
    12. Clemson 43
    13. Wisconsin 26
    14. Harvard 21
    15. Oregon State 14
    16. Dartmouth 12

    Varsity Eight Grand Final
    1. Stanford 6:11.95
    2. Virginia 6:12.32
    3. California 6:14.76
    4. Yale 6:17.22
    5. Brown 6:18.13
    6. Princeton 6:24.02

    Second Varsity Grand Final
    1. Yale 6:29.04
    2. California 6:29.58
    3. Stanford 6:31.88
    4. Brown 6:32.93
    5. Washington 6:34.28
    6. Virginia 6:37.17

    Varsity Four Grand Final
    1. Clemson 7:26.78
    2. Wisconsin 7:28.54
    3. Yale 7:30.81
    4. California 7:32.01
    5. Stanford 7:32.29
    6. Virginia 7:34.26

    Report filed by Tim Bennett, Yale Sports Publicity