WWU to represent West Region at NCAA II Championships
May 14, 2012
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - The Western Washington University women's rowing team received official confirmation Monday afternoon that it will compete for an eighth consecutive national title, earning a berth in the 11th annual NCAA Division II National Championships on May 25-27 at Lake Mercer near West Windsor, New Jersey.
The Vikings, who received word from the NCAA II Women's Rowing Selection Committee, will represent the West Region for the ninth straight year and for the 10th time in 11 seasons (at-large entry in 2003). Last year, they won a seventh straight national title, the longest string in any NCAA rowing division.
WWU is one of four schools competing for the team championship - each school being required to row an eight and a four.
Also receiving bids, besides the Vikings, were Mercyhurst PA from the East Region, Nova Southeastern FL from the South Region. Getting the at-large entry was Humboldt State from the West Region.
Humboldt State is ranked No.1 nationally, one point ahead of the Vikings, with Nova Southeastern No.3, and Mercyhurst No.4. Mercyhurst won the national team championship in 2004, the last crown prior to WWU's string, and was second last year.
In addition, Barry FL and Central Oklahoma received at-large berths in the eight competition. Those schools are not eligible for the team title.
WWU's eight won by one-half boat length over Humboldt State at the Western Intercollegiate Rowing Association Regatta, the Lumberjacks winning by that same margin at the Northwest Collegiate Rowing Conference Championships.
Competition begins Friday, May 25, with two heats of three boats in the eights at 11:15 a.m. ET and 12 noon ET, followed by two four heats at 12:15 p.m. ET and 12:30 p.m. ET. Winners in each heat advance to grand finals Sunday, May 27 (fours 9 a.m. ET, eights 9:35 a.m. ET). Losers of the heats compete in repechages Saturday, May 26, (eights 10:30 a.m. ET, fours 10:45 a.m. ET) with the top two placers in the eight and four races advancing to grand finals.
WWU, Nova Southeastern and Central Oklahoma will compete in one eight heat Friday, with Humboldt State, Mercyhurst and Barry in the other.
At nationals last year, WWU won both the four and eight competition. The Vikings have won the four and eight titles for six of the last seven years, placing second in the eight grand final in 2010 and being runner-up in the four grand final in 2009.
At nationals, participants receive 12 points for the first-place eight, nine for second, six for third and three for fourth. The victorious four gets eight points, with six points awarded for second, four for third and two for fourth.
Overall, this is the 12th consecutive trip to nationals for Western. The Vikings competed in the NCAA championship for all divisions in 2001, the varsity eight finishing sixth in its qualifying, repechage and third final races. In 2002, each school raced two eights at nationals.
WWU's seven straight titles is tied for fourth among all women's sports in Division II and an eighth would put it in a three-way tie for second, with none of those strings and the record of 10 by Cal Poly SLO in cross country being current.
The Vikings have the third longest active string among all divisions in any sport, trailing Methodist's 14 II/III women's golf titles from 1998 to 2011, and Drury's eight men's swimming and diving crowns.
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