WWU earns at-large berth at NCAA II Championships

WWUVIKINGSDOTCOM Regan Wessman - One of four Vikings making third straight trip to nationals
WWUVIKINGSDOTCOM
Regan Wessman - One of four Vikings making third straight trip to nationals
WWUVIKINGSDOTCOM

May 19, 2014

BELLINGHAM, Wash. - The Western Washington University women's rowing team received word Monday afternoon that it has earned an at-large berth in the 13th annual NCAA Division II National Championships that will be held on May 30 to June 1 at the Indianapolis Rowing Center in Eagle Creek Park near Indianapolis, Ind. It will be co-hosted by the University of Notre Dame and the Indiana Sports Corporation.

The Vikings, who received official confirmation from the NCAA II Women's Rowing Selection Committee, will continue their string of competing at every DII national championship since the event began in 2002. It is the second time WWU has been an at-large entry, the other being in 2003, while representing the West Region every other year.

WWU has never placed lower than third at nationals. The Vikings won seven straight national titles from 2005 to 2011, a record for all NCAA rowing divisions. Last year, they finished third after being second in 2012.

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 Humboldt State representing the West Region, Mercyhurst from the East Region and defending champion Nova Southeastern FL from the South Region. Humboldt State took the 2012 title.

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 is currently ranked No.3 nationally in the Collegiate Rowing Coaches Association/USRowing DII Poll behind No.1 Nova Southeastern and No.2 Humboldt State.

"We're excited to be going," said WWU head coach John Fuchs (16th year). "I believe the team will be ready, as ready as ever, that's for sure."

"I think anybody there can win. Everybody brings it and everybody wants it. We'll definitely be in the mix."

The Vikings' four won and the eight placed second at the 2014 Western Intercollegiate Rowing Association Championship Regatta in April. Humboldt State took the eight and was second in the four competition. The WWU four has not lost to a DII school this season.

Seated in WWU's eight will be coxswain Maeghan Callegari (Jr., Kirkland/Lake Washington), stroke Catrina Cuadra (Sr., Lake Stevens), No.7 Regan Wessman (Sr., Kirkland/Lake Washington), No.6 Lauren Ramstead (Sr., Everson/Nooksack Valley), No.5 Megan Marler (So., Morrison, CO/D'Evelyn), No.4 Olivia Rowland (Sr., Seattle/Holy Names), No.3 Christine Henie (Sr., Chugiak, AK), No.2 Emily Bartlett (Fr., Broadlands, VA/Thomas Jefferson S&T), and bow Emily Little (So., Port Angeles/Peninsula CC).

In the Vikings' four are coxswain Kate Nelson (Jr.., Moscow, ID), stroke Audra Massey (Jr., Albuquerque, NM), No.3 Jenny Chang (Fr., Sammamish/Int. School of Beijing), No.2 Olivia Gangmark-Strickland (So., Bainbridge Island), and bow Katya Hewitt (So., Bellingham).

The alternates are coxswain Katey Sullivan (Jr., Valley Center, CA) and rower Cosette Still (Sr., Lake Forest Park/Blanchet).

This is the third straight year that Callegari, Henie, Wessman and Rowland have been to nationals. They were in the varsity four in 2012. Henie is the team captain and Callegari the assistant captain.

It is the second trip to nationals for Cuadra, Gangmark-Strickland, Massey, Nelson, Ramstead, and the first for Bartlett, Chang, Hewitt, Little, Marler and Still.

Little and Marler were alternates last year.

Competition begins Friday, May 30, with two heats of three boats in the eights at 11:10 a.m. ET and 11:20 a.m. ET, followed by two four heats at 11:30 a.m. ET and 11:40 a.m. ET. Winners in each heat advance to grand finals Sunday, June 1 (fours 9:30 a.m. ET, eights 9:50 a.m. ET).

Losers of the Friday's heats compete in repechages Saturday, May 31, (eights 10:30 a.m. ET, fours 10:40 a.m. ET) with the top two finishers in the eight and four races advancing to the grand finals.

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 14th consecutive trip to nationals for WWU. 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.

This is the second straight year that Indianapolis has been the host.

"The weather is completely unpredictable there," Fuchs said. "It can be perfect or it can be terrible. We're versed in delays and stoppages. That's just part of the deal when you go back there."

May 30-31, June 1 - NCAA II National Championships - Indianapolis, IN (Indianapolis Rowing Center at Eagle Creek Park)

Schedule:

Friday, May 30

Eights

Heat A

Nova Southeastern, Barry and Mercyhurst

Heat B

Humboldt State, Western Washington and Central Oklahoma

Fours

Heat A

Western Washington and Mercyhurst

Heat B

Humboldt State and Nova Southeastern

WWU Lineups:

Eight - Coxswain Maeghan Callegari (Jr., Kirkland/Lake Washington), stroke Catrina Cuadra (Sr., Lake Stevens), No.7 Regan Wessman (Sr., Kirkland/Lake Washington), No.6 Lauren Ramstead (Sr., Everson/Nooksack Valley), No.5 Megan Marler (So., Morrison, CO/D'Evelyn), No.4 Olivia Rowland (Sr., Seattle/Holy Names), No.3 Christine Henie (Sr., Chugiak, AK), No.2 Emily Bartlett (Fr., Broadlands, VA/Thomas Jefferson S&T), bow Emily Little (So., Port Angeles/Peninsula CC)

Four - Coxswain Kate Nelson (Jr.., Moscow, ID), stroke Audra Massey (Jr., Albuquerque, NM), No.3 Jenny Chang (Fr., Sammamish/Int. School of Beijing), No.2 Olivia Gangmark-Strickland (So., Bainbridge Island), bow Katya Hewitt (So., Bellingham)

Alternates - Coxswain Katey Sullivan (Jr., Valley Center, CA) and Cosette Still (Sr., Lake Forest Park/Blanchet)

Head Coach: John Fuchs (16th year), Assistant Coach: Siri Carlson