Rowing Wins Eighth National Championshp

May 28, 2017

WEST WINDSOR, N.J. - The Western Washington University women's rowing team won the program's eighth NCAA Division II national championship edging out Central Oklahoma in the team competition Sunday morning on Lake Mercer.

The Vikings, led by 19th-year head coach John Fuchs, returned to the top of the podium for the first time since a streak of seven consecutive national championships from 2005-2011. The championship was also the 11th team title in WWU Athletics history, and the second during the 2016-17 season joining the women's soccer team.

“This is an awesome feeling for the team and the athletic department,” said Fuchs. “The last time we were here we finished second to end our streak. To come full circle and to be back on top of the podium here is a great feeling.”

WWU scored 17 team points in the competition, with 8 coming from the national-champion Fours and 9 from the second-place finishing Eights, earning a one-point victory over Central Oklahoma (16 points).

NCAA Division II Rowing Team Championship

  1. Western Washington - 17 Points
  2. Central Oklahoma - 16 Points
  3. Mercyhurst - 12 Points
  4. UC San Diego - 5 Points

WWU's one-point victory marked one of the closest in the 15-year history of the current Division II scoring system, with 2014 (Humboldt State 16, Nova Southeastern 15) and 2004 (Mercyhurst 18, Humboldt State 17) also featuring one-point wins.

Western's four-oared boat set the tone in the first race of the DII championship, recording an open-water victory over Mercyhurst finishing the 2,000-meter course in 7:51.610. The Vikings led wire-to-wire, pulling away from Mercyhurst and Central Oklahoma for a 15-second victory. The Fours were led by junior coxswain Madison Moelhman (Vancouver, WA/Columbia River HS), with crew members Nicole Vanderzanden (Sr., Vancouver, WA/Union HS), Mary Harper (Jr., Seattle, WA/Ingraham HS), Kelly Oberbillig (So., Milton, WA/Fife HS) and Madison Kerr (So., Spokane, WA/Lewis & Clark HS).

“The fours really set the tone for the meet for us, racing with confidence and a great attitude,” said Fuchs. “They developed quickly after the WIRA’s and really became a strong crew. They had a fantastic race today. Hats off to them.”

This marks the eighth time the fours have won the national championship, joining crews in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011 and 2014.

Division II - Fours

Grand Final

  1. Western Washington - 7:51.610 (8 points)
  2. Mercyhurst - 8:06.148 (6 points)
  3. Central Oklahoma - 8:12.477 (4 points)

The Eights finished second in the four-boat race of the Grand Final to earn 9 team points and seal the team championship. The Vikings had a strong last half of the race, but couldn't overcome Central Oklahoma to finish in 7:00.569, two-seconds back. The Eights were coxed by Giselle Kiraly (So., Vancouver, WA/Columbia River HS), and featured a veteran crew of Chloe Burns (Jr., Kirkland, WA/Lake Washington HS), Karisa Stapp (Jr., Bellingham, WA/Mount Baker HS), Kia Parrish-Haim (Sr., Ashland, OR/Ashland HS), Molly Ware (Sr., Olympia, WA/Olympia HS), Claire Whiting (Jr., Maple Valley, WA/Tahoma HS), Izzy Barnwell (So., Seward, AK/Seward HS), Megan Reid (Jr., Sitka, AK/Sitka HS) and Kasey Mallon-Andrews (Jr., Issaquah, WA/Issaquah HS)

Division II - Eights

Grand Final

  1. Central Oklahoma - 6:58.513 (12 points)
  2. Western Washington - 7:00.569 (9 points)
  3. Florida Tech - 7:04.888
  4. Mercyhurst - 7:16.324 (6 points)

Petite Final

  1. Barry - 7:06.734
  2. UC San Diego - 7:08.067 (3 points)

WWU has now won eight of the 16 Division II Rowing National Championships since the first event in 2002. The Vikings have competed in 16 of the 17 NCAA Rowing Championships (2001 was a combined event), placing first or second 11 times. Last year WWU placed 3rd in the competition held on Lake Natoma in Gold River, California.

WWU advanced directly to the Grand Final in both the Fours and Eights by winning their heats on the first day of the national championships regatta on Friday.

Sunday’s victory put an exclamation point on a dominating season that saw the Vikings win 24 of 32 races and were the season-long No. 1 team in the national rankings.

With WWU winning the Division II national title, and the University of Washington winning the Division I title, both championships return to the Northwest. Washington State, Gonzaga and Pacific Lutheran also raced at the NCAA Rowing Championships, creating a strong Northwest presence at the regatta.

“Congrats to the University of Washington for their great victory in the Division I competition,” said Fuchs. “With five rowing programs from the state of Washington at the national regatta, the Northwest is quickly becoming a rowing mecca. This is really cool for our region and all the programs to have this much success.”

National Champions

The team national champion at the Division II level is determined by a point system under the following structure. WWU, Central Oklahoma, Mercyhurst and UC San Diego fielded both Eight and Fours in the competition, while Barry and Florida Tech entered an Eight in the competition, but did not factor into the team standings:

2017 NCAA II WOMEN'S ROWING CHAMPIONSHIPS
POINTS SYSTEM

Place

Eights

Fours

1

12 (Central Oklahoma)

8 (WWU)

2

9 (WWU)

6 (Mercyhurst)

3

6 (Mercyhurst)

4 (Central Oklahoma)

4

3 (UC San Diego)

2 (UC San Diego)

Notes: (1) Only boats from institutions competing as a team will be awarded points. Points earned by a "non-team" boat will be awarded to the next "team" boat.
(2) Ties for team awards will be broken by the place finish in the Eights.

Boat Lineups:

The boat lineups for the Vikings during the NCAA Championships:

Western Washington University Rowing - Boat Lineups
NCAA Championships • West Windsor, NJ • Lake Mercer • May 26-28, 2017

Varsity 8+

Varsity 4+

Coxswain

Giselle Kiraly (So., Vancouver, WA/Columbia River HS)

Coxswain

Madison Moelhman (Jr., Vancouver, WA/Columbia River HS/Mills College)

Stroke

Chloe Burns (Jr., Kirkland, WA/Lake Washington HS)

Stroke

Nicole Vanderzanden (Sr., Vancouver, WA/Union HS)

7

Karisa Stapp (Jr., Bellingham, WA/Mount Baker HS)

3

Mary Harper (Jr., Seattle, WA/Ingraham HS)

6

Kia Parrish-Haim (Sr., Ashland, OR/Ashland HS)

2

Kelly Oberbillig (So., Milton, WA/Fife HS)

5

Molly Ware (Sr., Olympia, WA/Olympia HS)

Bow

Madison Kerr (So., Spokane, WA/Lewis & Clark HS)

4

Claire Whiting (Jr., Maple Valley, WA/Tahoma HS)

 

 

3

Izzy Barnwell (So., Seward, AK/Seward HS)

 

 

2

Megan Reid (Jr., Sitka, AK/Sitka HS)

 

 

Bow

Kasey Mallon-Andrews (Jr., Issaquah, WA/Issaquah HS)

 

 

WWU Rowing History:

Western Washington is one of the premier rowing programs across all levels in collegiate competition, competing in the NCAA Championships in 16 of 17 seasons...WWU has won 8 NCAA Division II National Championships, with a string of seven straight from 2005-2011 and again in 2017...the Vikings have placed first or second in 11 of the 16 Division II Championships...here is the Division II Championship history dating back to 2002 (event was combined in 2001 with all division).

NCAA DIVISION II ROWING CHAMPIONSHIPS HISTORY

YEAR

CHAMPION

POINTS

RUNNER-UP

POINTS

SITE

2017

Western Washington

17

Central Oklahoma

16

West Windsor, N.J.

2016

Barry

20

Central Oklahoma

15

Gold River, Calif.

2015

Barry

20

Mercyhurst

15

Gold River, Calif.

2014

Humboldt State

16

Nova Southeastern

15

Indianapolis

2013

Nova Southeastern

20

Barry

15

Indianapolis

2012

Humboldt State

20

Western Washington

13

West Windsor, N.J.

2011

Western Washington

20

Mercyhurst

13

Gold River, Calif.

2010

Western Washington

20

Seattle Pacific

11

Lake Natoma, Calif.

2009

Western Washington

18

Mercyhurst

13

Cherry Hill, N.J.

2008

Western Washington

20

UC San Diego

15

Lake Natoma, Calif.

2007

Western Washington

20

UC San Diego

11

Knoxville, Tenn.

2006

Western Washington

20

Barry

15

West Windsor, N.J.

2005

Western Washington

20

Mercyhurst

12

Sacramento

2004

Mercyhurst

18

Humboldt State

17

Sacramento

2003

UC Davis

20

Western Washington

15

Indianapolis

2002

UC Davis

50

Western Washington

45

Indianapolis