WIRA Regatta has extra meaning for WWU rowers
April 25, 2012
BELLINGHAM, Wash. - Needing a strong showing to earn a bid to the NCAA Division II Championships as the West Region representative, the Western Washington University women's rowing team competes in the Western Intercollegiate Rowing Association (WIRA) Championship Regatta on Saturday and Sunday at the Sacramento State Aquatic Center on Lake Natoma near Gold River, Calif.
The Vikings, the seven-time defending national champions, have their work cut out for them in their quest to be the West Region rep at this year's nationals.
Last Saturday, WWU had its seven-year string of Northwest Collegiate Rowing Championship titles snapped, being edged by Humboldt State University.
Both teams finished with 102 points. But in the featured varsity eight race, which broke the tie, the Vikings placed second to HSU by three seconds, three-quarters of a boat length. WWU easily won the varsity four event with the Lumberjacks second by over 13 seconds.
The NCRC showing put the Lumberjacks atop this week's Collegiate Rowing Coaches Association NCAA II National Poll. WWU, which had been ranked No.1 in the first five weekly ratings, slipped to No.2. HSU received three first-place votes and the Vikings one.
"This is our last chance to qualify (for the national championships) as we won't face any DII schools from here on out," said WWU coach John Fuchs (14th year). "If we want to go, we have to get it done this week. If we don't, then we're at the mercy of the national committee for an at-large berth."
Last year, WWU had the best performance in school history at the WIRA regatta, winning gold medals in all four races that it competed in. The Vikings did not participate in the WIRA two years ago after taking gold in the eight and four finals in 2010.
WWU will be competing in varsity eight, junior varsity eight, varsity four and novice four races.
There will be heats Saturday in all but the junior varsity eight which will have a final only. The finals are slated for Sunday.
The official announcement of the NCAA national field will be Monday, May 14.
The Vikings have been the West Region representative in each of the last eight years and nine of the last 10 seasons, being an at-large entry in 2003.
V8 - Coxswain Alix Crilly (Sr., Wenatchee), stroke Jean Piette (Sr., Vancouver/Columbia River), No.7 Stephanie Bluhm (Jr., Auburn/Mountain View), No.6 Katie Woolsey (Sr., North Bend/Mount Si), No. 5 Megan Northey (Sr., Brier/King's), No.4 Kelsey Baker (Sr., Gig Harbor), No.3 Carson MacPherson-Krutsky (Sr., Seattle/Garfield), No.2 Alyssa Dewey (Sr., Bend/Mountain View), bow Kate Berni (Sr., Silverdale/Central Kitsap)
JV8 - Coxswain Emma Heil (Jr., Sammamish/Eastlake), stroke Christine Henie (So., Chugiak, AK), No.7 Olivia Rowland (So., Seattle/Holy Names), No.6 Regan Wessman (So., Kirkland/Lake Washington), No.5 Claire Marine (So., Enumclaw), No.4 Cozette Still (So., Lake Forest Park/Blanchet), No.3 Maddy Hillier (Sr., Sedro-Woolley), No.4 No.2 Alyson Morris (So., Littlerock/Tumwater), bow Sarah Lundli (Jr., Shoreline/Shorewood)
V4 - Coxswain Maeghan Callegeri (Fr., Kirkland/Lake Washington), stroke Hannah Gallagher (Sr., Seattle/Garfield), No.3 Nolan Winger (Sr., Bremerton/Central Kitsap), No.2 Jordan Uecker (Sr., Bellingham/Sehome), bow Lauren Fleming (Sr., Bainbridge Island)
N4 - Coxswain Kate Nelson (Fr., Moscow, ID), stroke Audra Massey (So., Albuquerque, NM), No.3 Angela Gelfer (So., Sammamish), No.2 Annaliese Koleber (Jr., Centralia), bow Sara Crowell (Fr., Bainbridge Island/Bainbridge)
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