May 28, 2009
CHERRY HILL, N.J. - Two weeks ago, Yale raced at the Eastern Sprints on the Cooper River and came away with gold medals in the varsity eight and varsity four and a silver medal in the second varsity. In addition, the Bulldogs captured the Charles Willing Team Trophy for overall supremacy. Yale hopes for similar success when it returns to the Cooper River this weekend for the NCAA Championships. Racing gets under way on Friday with the heats. The semifinals are Saturday and the Grand Finals are Sunday. Video of the championships is available from ncaa.com on Saturday and Sunday. Updated results are also available from ncaa.com.
All 16 teams in the championships will field two boats of eight rowers each and one boat of four rowers. The top three finishers in each heat advance to the semifinals, and the top three finishers in each semifinal qualify for the Grand Final. A point total based on the finishes of all three boats determine the NCAA champion.
Yale's varsity eight, seeking its third straight NCAA title, will be the first to race on Friday. The Bulldogs, who are ranked third in the nation, face Ohio State, Radcliffe, No. 1 Stanford and Washington at 8:45 a.m. Yale went 8-1 during the dual-race season and then captured the Sprints title by less than a second two weeks ago.
"We have spent a lot of time this year teaching ourselves to really focus on finding speed from within, and certainly being surrounded by all of the top teams in the nation can pull our attention to other external factors," said Maren McCrea, who sits in the No. 5 seat. "I think that remembering to row our race and not get distracted by what other boats are doing will be the biggest hurdle we will have to deal with at the NCAA Championship, but I am confident that our team will be able to handle it with grace."
Yale's second varsity races Princeton, USC, California and Stanford at 9:45 a.m. The Bulldogs were undefeated in the dual race season before finishing second at Sprints.
In the varsity four heat, Yale goes against Dartmouth, Michigan, Brown, Washington and Stanford at 10:45 a.m.
Yale is making its ninth overall appearance in the team championships. The Bulldogs' best finish came in 2004 when they were second. Brown is the two-time defending team champion.
Yale Boatings For NCAA Championship
Report filed by Tim Bennett, Yale Sports Publicity